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FDA changes course on graphic warning labels for cigarettes

New Cigarette Health Warnings

By CNN Staff

(CNN) — The Department of Justice has sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner saying it will not ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review a federal appeals court ruling that blocked new graphic warnings on cigarette packages.

The new cigarette packs, originally intended for distribution in 2012, would have depicted images of rotting teeth, smokers with oxygen masks on, diseased lungs and other intense images.

The government had until April 5 to appeal the ruling, which struck down the mandate, saying the requirements were a violation of free speech protections.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration instead will “undertake research to support a new rule-making consistent with the Tobacco Control Act,” the letter said, meaning the FDA will have to create new warning labels.

The FDA didn’t immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment.

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