Judge was Right to Block Graphic Warning Labels on Cigarettes

COMMENTARY | According to the Washington Post, a federal judge has blocked the FDA from requiring large, graphic warning labels on cigarette packages, cartons, and advertising. He agreed with tobacco companies that the warning labels would case “irreparable harm” to their business. Whether or not you agree with smoking, if you’ve ever cracked open a beer, noshed on a Big Mac or a Whopper, or fired a gun, you must admit that tobacco companies have a right to exist.

Big Tobacco, for all of its reviled attributes, creates a legal product that is desired by millions. Many people smoke for many different reasons, some more logical than others. Why does America come down on so hard on tobacco while ignoring similar dangers posed by alcohol, firearms, fatty food, and even pornography?

Sure, tobacco can give you cancer. Alcohol consumption comes with its own slew of health problems, not to mention all the deaths and injuries occurring from intoxication itself. Does the FDA require every bottle of booze to show a photo of a drunk driving victim?

Does every firearm have to come with a pamphlet showing pictures of children who were accidentally killed by guns?

Does every McDonald’s, Burger King, or Taco Bell bag have to come with a disturbing photo of a morbidly obese person?

Does every Playboy or Hustler have to include a page detailing the ruined lives of sex addicts?

It is noble that the government wants to keep kids from taking up the smoking habit, but it must play fairly: Either create graphic warnings about everything harmful, or keep the warnings as they are. As a non-smoker who enjoys the occasional Big Mac and owns a firearm, I would appreciate that my dangerous luxuries not come with a warning that will turn my stomach.

Sure, cigs may be worse, health-wise, than the other aforementioned dangerous products, but the slippery slope that condemns Big Tobacco and smokers today will catch the rest of us tomorrow. Sorry, White House, but I’ve gotta rule against you on this.

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