The U.S. government is abandoning its effort to require graphic labels on cigarette packages, Attorney General Eric Holder said in a letter obtained by the Associated Press.
The Food and Drug Administration has been in a legal battle to require that cigarette packages feature morbid warning labels, including a dead body and a smoking man breathing through a tracheostomy. The warnings were supposed to cover the entire top half of cigarette packs and include the phone number for a stop-smoking hotline.
The government had until Monday to ask the Supreme Court to review an appeals court decision upholding a ruling that the warning label requirement violated the First Amendment.
“In light of these circumstances, the Solicitor General has determined … not to seek Supreme Court review of the First Amendment issues at the present time,” Holder wrote in a letter on Friday to House Speaker John Boehner, according to AP.
The FDA will now go back to the drawing board to create new labels under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which gives the government authority to regulate tobacco.