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Appeals Court Backs FDA Cigarette Labels

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Appeals Court Backs FDA Cigarette Labels

Despite a judge declaring that the Food & Drug Administration's cigarette labels violated freedom of speech, the U.S. Court of Appeals supports the FDA.

The Cincinnati-based appeals court went on to say that these restrictions were not unconstitutional and they did not violate tobacco companies' freedom of speech — a significant blow to cigarette companies, which would have to display graphic images on product cartons if labeling initiative is passed.

Judge Leon argued that the FDA's labels had been digitally enhanced to evoke an emotional response, which is why he originally claimed the initiative was unconstitutional. However, he didn't strike the proposal out, he merely delayed it by a year until courts could decide on a proper ruling.

Similar labels have been introduced in countries throughout the world and have achieved the results the FDA is aiming for. The World Health Organization found the visibility of the labels in foreign packaging had led to 25 percent of smokers dropping the habit in some countries, Zacks.com reports.

The FDA hopes to cut the smoking population by 213,000 by 2013.