published Monday, August 29th, 2011

Washington wrong about gruesome smoking ads

The health dangers of smoking are so obvious that everyone should be discouraged from taking up that awful habit.

But tobacco remains a legal product in the United States, and government should not be forcing tobacco companies to display gruesome warnings designed to get people to avoid buying those products.

Federal regulators want to force cigarette makers to place the graphic warnings — such as a picture of a smoker’s corpse — on cigarette packs.

But however much we disapprove of smoking, we can understand why four of the largest U.S. tobacco companies have filed suit to prevent the government from forcing them to display the sickening ads on cigarette packs.

“Never before in the United States have producers of a lawful product been required to use their own packaging and advertising to convey an emotionally charged government message urging adult consumers to shun their products,” the lawsuit states.

We abhor smoking, but the federal government is going too far in requiring these gruesome ads.

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