Lorillard, RJR, Others Seek Injunction Against FDA

Tobacco Makers' Suit Says Demands for Graphic Labels Violates First Amendment

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Lorillard, the maker of Newport cigarettes, said it joined with three other tobacco companies in a legal bid to stop the agency from putting new warnings on cigarette packs.

Lorillard, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Commonwealth Brands and Liggett Group filed a lawsuit yesterday in U.S. District Court in Washington, Lorillard said in a statement. The filing couldn't be immediately confirmed with the court.

Lorillard seeks a preliminary injunction to halt the effective date of the FDA regulation, which requires cigarette packs, cartons and advertising to display new graphic warning labels by Sept. 22 , 2012, the company said. The warnings will be accompanied by pictures of rotting teeth or damaged lungs to deter smokers.

"The regulations violate the First Amendment," Floyd Abrams, a lawyer representing Lorillard, said in the statement. "The notion that the government can require those who manufacture a lawful product to emblazon half of its package with pictures and words admittedly drafted to persuade the public not to purchase that product cannot withstand constitutional scrutiny."

A phone message left yesterday with the FDA's office of public affairs seeking comment on the lawsuit wasn't immediately returned.

--Bloomberg News--

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