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Is the govt violating tobacco companies' FoS?
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2/9/2015 12:13:30 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
The feds are putting warning labels on cigarette ads by the largest American tobacco companies. They are suing the federal government saying that that this violates their freedom of speech. What is important to note is that the government can infringe speech if and only if there is a clear and present danger. They claim that the ads "scream" at viewers not to purchase a lawfully make and sold produce. "[the graphic warning labels are] direct advocacy not to buy the product as opposed to a straightforward warning," their lead lawyer says. The lawsuit is filed specifically against the FDA and the HHSD. The FDA said in June 2011 that such warning labels plus the number 1-800-QUIT-NOW would have to cover at least half of each cigarette pack. As noted on www.fda.gov, however, tobacco causes more premature and preventable deaths in the US and is behind 500,000 of them a year. They believe that new warnings are a major step forward in raising awareness of the dangers of tobacco use and hopes this will decrease the number of smokers, save lives, increase life expectancy, and reduce health care costs. They also believe that these gross images will persuade impressionable kids and teens not to smoke.
So, conclusively, the government does have good intentions behind what they are doing. But very young children may be scarred for life by the images on the warning labels. But they can also raise awareness of the dangers of smoking and promote better health. On the other hand, the companies won't make as much money.
So what do you think? Is their freedom of speech being violated? If so, is there a clear and present danger as required?
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