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Anti-tobacco groups sue FDA to require graphic warning labels on cigarette packs

This composite image from 2011 showed three of the FDA's warning labels for cigarette packages.

This composite image from 2011 showed three of the FDA's warning labels for cigarette packages.  (AP)

Antitobacco groups on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to push the agency to try again to require graphic warning labels on cigarettes.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court of Massachusetts, urges the court to force the FDA to abide by the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. Under the law, the agency was required to issue rules by late 2011 for color graphics on cigarettes that depict the harms of smoking.

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The FDA previously had sought to comply with the law, proposing graphic labels about five years ago that included images of diseased lungs and a body on an autopsy table with words such as “smoking can kill you.” However, tobacco companies sued, and those labels were struck down in federal court on First Amendment grounds. The FDA hasn’t introduced new labels since then.

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