Monday, August 31, 2009

Commonwealth Brands, Inc. Issues Legal Challenge to FDA

/PRNewswire/ -- Commonwealth Brands, Inc. has today joined with a number of other companies including the R.J.Reynolds Tobacco Company, Lorillard, Inc. and Conwood Company in filing an action in Federal Court against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regarding the recently enacted Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. This action is designed to protect the plaintiffs' First Amendment right to free speech.

Commonwealth Brands believes that the legislation, as passed on 22 June 2009, imposes unprecedented and impermissible restrictions on its commercial free speech rights as guaranteed by the U S Constitution. If allowed, the Act will virtually eliminate the few remaining avenues that the Company has to communicate with its adult consumers.

Commonwealth Brands also believes that the Act directly violates its Constitutional rights by suppressing its lawful ability to participate in the scientific and political debate surrounding its products and unduly restricts its right to engage in commercial speech.

Jonathan Cox, CEO and President of Commonwealth Brands, Inc. said:

"Commonwealth Brands supports the Act's aim of preventing youth access to tobacco products and actively participates in youth access prevention initiatives.

"However, the Act fails to respect the legitimacy of our commercial freedoms and our right to communicate with our adult smokers. We believe that many of the provisions within the Act violate our constitutional rights and are not reasonably related to the goal of reducing youth access to tobacco products.

"This action seeks to protect our legitimate business interests and ensure that we can continue to participate in dialogue about our products and contribute to the development of reasonable and proportionate regulation."

Beyond these key Constitutional infringements, Commonwealth Brands, Inc. looks forward to partnering with the FDA to develop an effective regulatory framework for tobacco products.

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