A set of sharp suits from the money end of Tobacco Road, R.J. Reynolds and Lorillard to name two addresses, dropped by the U.S. District Court in Bowling Green, Kentucky at the end of August claiming their constitutional rights were being violtated.
The U.S. Congress passed a law in June giving the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate tobacco marketing. The FDA wasted no time dropping a rule book on Big Tobacco.
Basically the feds want the merchants of cancer to state clearly and boldly in every marketing and advertising piece they produce that tobacco kills. Also, the feds want to shut down anything that looks like marketing directed at kids.
R.J. Reynolds and friends contend that, posters of Joe the Camel and the Winston Bronco taped eye-level to a fourth-grader at the drug store next door to the elementary school aside, they are appalled by youth smokers and only want freedom of choice for God- fearing, patriotic American adults.
The Tobacco Roaders stand with their silk-stockinged feet on the straightforward statement of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech….” It is ironic that, at a time when every political, legal, and business brain in America is struggling with controlling medical costs, the makers of a product which add billions of dollars to the nation’s medical costs each year claim a right to continue promoting death and sickness based on the First Amendment right of free speech.
The only right Big Tobacco deserves is the right to a speedy trial.
At every turn tobacco product manufacturers have sought to glamorize their product. They have even corrupted requirements to post health warnings and encourage youth abstinence into slick appeals to light up and try one. As an example, see R.J. Reynolds response to the FDA requirement that tobacco product ingredients be available to the public ( http://www.rjrt.com/ingredients.aspx ). The web posting is sprinkled with words like “aroma” and “taste.”
Here’s my favorite line: “However, the taste characteristics of many tobacco blends that adult tobacco consumers enjoy could not be achieved without adding ingredients to the tobacco. For example, roughly 30 percent of all cigarettes sold in the United States have menthol added to their blends.”
You have to click on down to finds the dozens of other popular ingredients that adult tobacco consumers enjoy, such as isobutyraldehyde and 2-methoxy-4-methylphenol. Or that Camel laces its blend of American and Turkish tobacco with brown sugar, coca, licorice, and high fructose corn syrup – clear evidence that they aren’t going after the kiddie market.
Here’s hoping that the judge in Bowling Green keeps in mind that the plaintiffs from Big Tobacco are merchants of death and documented liars.