Paternalistic Manipulation through Pictorial Warnings: The First Amendment, Commercial Speech, and the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act
affiliation not provided to SSRN
April 15, 2012
Mississippi Law Journal, Vol. 81, No. 7, 2012
Beginning in 2012, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act will require pictorial warning labels on both regular and smokeless tobacco products. The warnings contain textual statements encouraging smoking cessation as well as graphic images depicting cadavers, crying children, and cancerous lesions. As presently required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the warnings both unconstitutionally compel and suppress commercial speech. The warnings violate the First Amendment under every existing Supreme Court standard for evaluating commercial speech regulations: the “reasonable relation” standard of Zauderer v. Office of Disciplinary Counsel; the strict scrutiny standard of Wooley v. Maynard; and the intermediate scrutiny standard for commercial speech disclosure and suppression expressed in Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation v. Public Service Commission. Rather than tax tobacco products, ban tobacco products, use removable warnings already adopted by many countries including Canada, or implement educational programs to inform consumers about the dangers of using tobacco products, the FDA has instead resorted to paternalistic manipulation of consumers and infringement upon the First Amendment rights of tobacco manufacturers.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 32
Keywords: tobacco, control, family smoking prevention and tobacco control act, constitutional, first amendment, smoking, Central Hudson, Zauderer, Wooley
Date posted: September 12, 2012