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Mar 06

Comment: Lighting a Fire Under Free Speech: the FDA’s Graphic Attempts to Reduce Smoking Rates

Ashley Peterson

More than forty-three million adult Americans are cigarette smokers. Cigarette smoking accounts for 400,000 deaths annually—more than AIDS, alcohol, cocaine, heroin, homicide, suicide, motor vehicle crashes, and fires combined—making cigarettes the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Tomorrow, approximately 4,000 children under the age of eighteen will experiment with cigarettes for the first time and another 1,500 will become regular smokers. Of those that smoke regularly, about half will eventually die from tobacco use. Tobacco-related illnesses in the United States alone cost approximately $193 billion each year in lost productivity and health care expenditures. These sobering statistics have encouraged public health officials and lawmakers to take drastic action designed to encourage smokers to quit and to prevent young adults from ever lighting up. The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (“FSPTCA” or “the Act”) and its implementing regulations promote the government’s anti-smoking agenda—at the expense of tobacco companies’ constitutionally protected free speech.

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