The U.S. Court of Appeals ruled against the federal government requiring tobacco companies to put large graphic health warnings on its cigarette packages.
In a 2-1 one vote on Friday, Aug. 24, the Court of Appeals determined the label requirement from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration violated corporate speech rights.
According to Judge Janice Rogers Brown of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the FDA did not provide substantial evidence that demonstrates the graphic labels would reduce the rate of smoking in America.
Of the various tobacco manufacturers, five companies challenged the FDA rules: Reynolds American Inc, Lorillard Inc; Commonwealth Brands Inc, which is owned by Britain's Imperial Tobacco Group Plc; Liggett Group LLC and Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co Inc.
The U.S. Department of Justice, which argued the case on the behalf of the FDA, plans to review the ruling before taking any further steps.
In a statement, Matthew Myers, the president of The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said, "Today's ruling is wrong on the science and law, and it is by no means the final word on the new cigarette warnings."
Last summer, the FDA released nine new warnings that would have taken effect this September. It would have been the first change in U.S. cigarette warning labeling in 25 years.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention nearly 45 million American adults smoke cigarettes, the leading causes of preventable death in the United States. The World Health Organization predicts smoking could kill eight million people each year by 2030, if governments do not do more to help people quit.
The graphic labels were a part of the many anti-smoking initiative being implemented as a means to get Americans to stop smoking.
With the help of CDC anti-smoking ad campaigns that ran for 12 weeks, 50,000 Americans quit smoking.