The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington has denied the government's request to rehear a challenge to a controversial tobacco packaging requirement. Tobacco companies have challenged the requirement that they must post large, graphic health warnings on cigarette packages.
A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment after the ruling. The government now has a 90 day period to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. In August of this year, a three-judge panel had affirmed a lower court ruling that blocked the Food and Drug Administration requirement.
Some of the largest tobacco firms in the United States sued to block the mandate, which included warnings to show the dangers of smoking. The tobacco companies argued that the proposed warnings went beyond factual information into anti-smoking advocacy.
Attorneys for the government have maintained the photos of dead and diseased smokers are factual.