Smile, cigarette aficionados! (Actually, please don't.) A judge has ruled that requirements for new warning labels on tobacco packs — featuring sexy photos like this one — violate manufacturers' free-speech rights. Smoke 'em if you got 'em, because you no longer have to peer into your awesome future.
Although the government's desire to save lives "might be compelling, an interest in simply advocating that the public not purchase a legal product is not," concluded U.S. District Judge Richard Leon. "Unfortunately, because Congress did not consider the First Amendment implications of this legislation, it did not concern itself with how the regulations could be narrowly tailored to avoid unintentionally compelling commercial speech."
The 2009 law — which companies such as R.J. Reynolds took to court — mandated "color warning labels big enough to cover the top 50 percent of a cigarette pack's front and back panels, and the top 20 percent of print advertisements," according to Reuters. (The White House supported it, no matter how often President Obama sneaks a drag in the War Room.)
The government can still require text-based health warnings, but not the horrific photos. In related news, the Department of Health and Human Services just gave Stephen King billions of taxpayer dollars.