Justice Department Seeks Reconsideration of Graphic Cigarette Labels

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The debate over graphic cigarette warning labels is not over yet, now that the federal government is asking a federal appeals court to take another look at the issue.

The U.S. Justice Department filed a petition yesterday, Oct. 9, asking the full court to rehear the case after a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington affirmed in August a lower court ruling blocking the requirement mandated by the Food and Drug Administration, according to the Associated Press.

The lower court ruled that the mandate violated the First Amendment's free speech protections. The court rarely grants such appeals, the news outlet noted.

The FDA mandate would have required nine new graphic warning labels -- a combination of text and images -- on all cigarette packaging and advertising by Sept. 22. The FDA issued the mandate and revealed the nine labels in June 2011. 

Less than two months later, tobacco companies including Lorillard Inc., R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Commonwealth Brands Inc. and Liggett Group LLC responded to the mandate with a lawsuit, as CSNews Online previously reported.

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