A fight for the hearts and minds - not to mention the lungs - of every American who's lighting up for the first time or thinking of kicking the smoking habit is headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In a split ruling that accorded Big Tobacco little-deserved deference, a federal appeals court in Washington last week struck down the Food and Drug Administration's bold and sensible plan to require graphic warnings about the dangers of smoking on cigarette packs.
The court majority ruled that the FDA requirement violates tobacco firms' free-speech rights, saying it goes too far in seeking to "browbeat consumers into quitting" smoking. However, a different appeals court earlier ruled the labels are OK, which leaves it to the Supreme Court to resolve this issue. It should put public health ahead of tobacco profits.