US Judge Rules Graphic Cigarette Labels Unconstitutional

US Judge Rules Graphic Cigarette Labels Unconstitutional
Thursday, March 1, 2012 - 5:48pm

UTEP Students React to Judge's Decision

EL PASO - You know those graphic "Truth" commercials that warn us about the dangers of smoking? The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wanted to do something like that on cigarette boxes, and a U.S. judge blocked it.

The FDA wanted tobacco companies to print large images depicting the dangers of smoking on all packs of cigarettes. Some of the pictures show smoke coming out of a hole in a man's throat, or examples of mouth cancer. A judge ruled that the images are a violation of free speech.

UTEP students have a mixed reaction to the judge's ruling.

"I think the judge was...correct...because you can't make anything like this mandatory. It's the cigarette company's right to protect their own industry,” said Jesus Ortiz.

"If it goes to the extreme of putting it on every carton for people to understand what they do to you, I mean, why not?" said Reyna Puentes.

"There's no need to put a graphic picture on a cigarette box. We are a civilized society,” said Augie Lopez.

Major tobacco companies complained the images forced them to display anti-smoking material more than their own branding.

In the past, representatives with the FDA argued that the benefits of conveying the dangers of smoking outweigh the free speech rights of cigarette companies.

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