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Federal Judge Rules on Tobacco Ads

David Savona
Posted: January 6, 2010

A federal judge has answered the tobacco industry's first challenge to upcoming Food and Drug Administration limits on advertising, and the results were mixed.

Judge Joseph H. McKinley Jr. of the U.S. District Court, Western District of Kentucky, ruled Monday that the FDA cannot prohibit cigarette companies from advertising in color, agreeing with plaintiffs R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and others that such a limit was an intrusion on their rights to free speech. He ruled in favor of the FDA, however, on the agency's intention to force cigarette makers to increase the size of the surgeon general's warning and make them resemble the larger, far more graphic warnings found on tobacco products sold in Canada.

The FDA was placed in control of the entire U.S. tobacco industry last year, but so far the agency's actions on cigar producers have been limited to actions against flavored cigars, particularly clove flavored cigars.

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