No rotting teeth on cigarette packaging

Judge blocks graphic images from cigarette packaging. / Jessica Fairley

Come 2012, the images of diseased lungs, stained teeth and lip diseases would cover cigarette packaging. That's if a federal judge hadn't ruled it likely that tobacco companies would win their case, stating the graphics violate their freedom of speech.

Stephanie Loughmiller, a smoker since the age of 15, says the federal government and tobacco companies are missing the message.

"I think it's not about the labels that are on the cigarettes. I think it's a psychological thing. I know a lot of people that have started smoking and quit and I've quit several times," said Albany Resident and Smoker Stephanie Loughmiller.

But her habit came back and in spite of the warnings already on the labels, Loughmiller and millions of others continue to smoke.

If the odds turn against tobacco companies once the packaging battle comes to an end, they will be required to place the images on the front and the back of the cartons, but smokers say if this happens, it won't make a difference.

"They know it's bad for their health. They see what the warnings are from different interviews and different research that they've done," said Loughmiller.

BP Food Mart owner Nanesh Patel says many may ignore the images, just as they've overlooked other packaging alterations.

"They changed it because of the menthol light, but that makes no difference," said BP Food Mart Owner Nanesh Patel.

Although cigarette companies have won this battle for now, the federal judge who made the decision says the war is far from done. He's only blocking the image requirements until the lawsuit is over, which officials say could take years

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