A U.S. judge has ruled that new regulations outlined by the Food and Drug Administration for large graphic health warnings to be placed on cigarette packaging violate freedom of speech under the U.S. Constitution.
According to Reuters, U.S. district judge Richard Leon stated that “the government has failed to carry both its burden of demonstrating a compelling interest and its burden of demonstrating that the rule is narrowly tailored to achieve a constitutionally permissible form of compelled commercial speech.”
Leon also said that the warning labels were too large to pass “constitutional muster” and that there are many other tools that the government has to stop people from smoking and raise awareness.
"Unfortunately, because Congress did not consider the First Amendment implications of this legislation, it did not concern itself with how the regulations could be narrowly tailored to avoid unintentionally compelling commercial speech,” he added.
The debate over the cigarette packaging has been heating up over the past year and U.S. government is likely to appeal this new ruling, according to Reuters.
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