Tobacco industry sues to protect its First Amendment rights

Back in June, President Obama signed a law requiring cigarette manufacturers to display health warnings on the top half of cartons, and to cover the top half of the fronts and backs of packages with "color graphics depicting the negative health consequences of smoking." Big Tobacco was not amused. Three of the four biggest cigarette companies have sued. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, Lorillard (LO) and Commonwealth Brands argue that the "shocking color graphics" would require them "to stigmatize their own products through their own packaging."

But the tobacco companies make a puzzling argument in their complaint: "These speech restrictions are particularly egregious as the population has, for decades, been well informed of the harms of tobacco use and the government cannot demonstrate that the restrictions will further increase consumer awareness or reduce youth tobacco use."