Federal judge blocks graphic cigarette labels

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A federal judge on Monday blocked a U.S. rule requiring tobacco companies to display graphic images on cigarette packs, such as a man exhaling cigarette smoke through a hole in his throat.

U.S. District Judge Richard Leon sided with tobacco companies and granted a temporary injunction, saying they would likely prevail in their lawsuit challenging U.S. health regulators’ rule as unconstitutional because it compels speech in violation of the First Amendment.

In the first change in U.S. cigarette warning labels in 25 years, the Food and Drug Administration in June released nine new warnings to go into effect in September of 2012.

Full story: Federal judge blocks graphic cigarette labels