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Tobacco companies take federal government to court


This week four of the five largest U.S. tobacco companies filed a lawsuit against the federal government. They say new graphic warnings on cigarette packets violate their first amendment right to free speech. University of Florida professor and Brechner Eminent Scholar in Mass Communications Clay Calvert spoke to Florida’s 89.1 WUFT-FM’s Paula Cunniffe about the competing interests in this lawsuit between free speech and protecting citizens from the harm of smoking cigarettes.

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Ralph Rutledge, 61, lives with lung cancer. He used to ride the bus at least an hour each way from East Gainesville to his doctor appointments at UF Health Shands. (Briana Erickson/WUFT News)

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Ralph Rutledge of East Gainesville had four tumors on his vocal cords. Lung cancer. As a regular patient, he spent close to six hours a week on a bus.