HolyCoast: Manufacturers May Have a Free Speech Right Not to Run Government Propaganda on Their Labels

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Manufacturers May Have a Free Speech Right Not to Run Government Propaganda on Their Labels

This is interesting.  Cigarette makers sued to stop the new government labels and they just might win:
In a preliminary injunction, Judge Richard J. Leon of United States District Court in Washington ruled that cigarette makers were likely to win a free speech challenge against the proposed labels, which include staged photos of a corpse and of a man breathing smoke out of a tracheotomy hole in his neck.

The judge ruled that the labels were not factual and required the companies to use cigarette packages as billboards for what he described as the government’s “obvious anti-smoking agenda!”...

“It is abundantly clear from viewing these images that the emotional response they were crafted to induce is calculated to provoke the viewer to quit, or never to start, smoking: an objective wholly apart from disseminating purely factual and uncontroversial information,” Judge Leon wrote.
Now, I'm certainly not a fan of smoking. I don't like it at all. However, as long as the product is going to be legal they shouldn't have to carry government propaganda on their labels designed to ruin their business. If the government really wants everyone to stop smoking...and of course they don't...they could just ban the product tomorrow. However, tobacco has become a cash cow to fund all sorts of government spending and there's no way it will ever be banned.

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