People who have been waiting to see colorful, scary images on their cigarette packs depicting the various health impacts of smoking will have to wait a while longer.
On Aug. 10, a federal court judge in Texas granted yet another motion from tobacco companies to postpone the imposition of new warning labels—this time until Oct. 6 of 2023.
This marked the eighth postponement of rules requiring 11 new health warning statements and images on the top 50% of the front and rear panels of cigarette packs and top 20% of cigarette ads.
The images depict conditions that smoking can induce -- including head and neck cancer, toe amputation, COPD and bladder cancer.
The Texas lawsuit was brought against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company Inc. and several other entities.
Central to their case were the costs involved in complying with the new labeling and ad requirements.
“The Manufacturer Plaintiffs would have to redesign packaging, modify the printing process, purchase and engrave printing cylinders, print compliant packages and redesign, modify and replace point-of-sale advertisements at hundreds of thousands of retailers,” the suit stated.
“These steps would cost millions of dollars and thousands of employee hours, which would be unrecoverable if Plaintiffs prevailed, and that the balance of equities strongly favored granting a stay.”
The new requirements were supposed to take effect July 8, 2023.