Practice listening to VOA medical English news 17

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Tobacco companies are fighting efforts in the United States and Australia to make their products less appealing. In Washington, a federal judge recently blocked the Food and Drug Administration from requiring new warning labels on cigarette packs. Judge Richard Leon ruled in a case brought by five tobacco companies.The judge temporarily stopped a new federal rule to require large new warnings starting next September.

These include color images such as a dead body or diseased lungs. Simple text warnings now appear. Congress called for color images showing the dangers of smoking, similar to what Canada does. But the tobacco companies say the new requirements approved in June violates their free speech rights guaranteed by the Constitution.Judge Leon said the FDA could not require the new labels before a lawsuit against the government is decided. Some experts say the process could take years. The judge said he said the cigarette makers are highly likely to win their case. He says the images are designed to appeal to emotion, rejecting government arguments that they are purely factual.

He accused the government of trying to use the labels to promote an “obvious anti-smoking agenda!” The head of an anti-smoking group, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, called the decision “wrong on the science and wrong on the law.” About one-fifth of American adults are smokers. The World Health Organization says tobacco kills nearly six million people worldwide each year. More than six hundred thousand of them are non-smokers who breathe other people’s tobacco smoke. In Australia, tobacco companies want to stop what would be the world’s most restrictive laws on cigarette advertising. Cigarettes could be sold only in plain olive-green packages. Only the brand name and health warnings could appear.

The new rule is to go into effect in December of twenty twelve. Tobacco companies say the measure violates the Australian constitution. They say it would unjustly reduce the value of their brand names and trademarks. Health Minister Nicola Roxon says the government is ready for a legal fight. She says the new rule will be a big win for families who have lost a loved one to tobacco-related illness.” For VOA Special English, I’m Carolyn Presutti.

Words in This Story

appealing – adj. attractive or interesting

federal – adj. relating to the central government, and not to the government of a region, of some countries such as the US

judge – n. a person who is in charge of a trial in a court and decide how a person who is guilty of a crime should be punished, or who makes decisions on legal matters

congress – n. a large formal meeting of representatives from countries or societies at which ideas are discussed and information is exchanged

violater – v. to break or act against something, especially a law, agreement, principle, or something that should be treated with respect

constitution – n. the set of political principles by which a state or organization is guided, especially in relation to the rights of the people it governs

lawsuit – n. a problem taken to a law court by an ordinary person or an organization rather than the police in order to obtain a legal decision

Practice listening to medical English news through VOA – special English, Health Report.

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