Blaze hits downtown building; no one hurt
Twenty-six construction workers escaped harm Friday morning after a fire
started in a former R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. building being renovated downtown. A construction project manager told fire investigators that a tobacco bin caught fire as workers were using a torch to cut metal that was close by. The fire was ruled accidental, fire officials
said Friday night. Frank
Stowe of the Winston-Salem Fire Department said that when firefighters arrived at the building at the corner of Sixth and Vine streets at 9:53 a. m. , they found fire and smoke coming from ductwork inside the building. The building is RJR-90-3, the building that Inmar Inc. Inmar announced July 31 that it will move its entire workforce into two former R. J. Reynolds buildings off Seventh and Vine streets. A spokesman for Inmar said Friday that the building suffered no fire damage, only smoke damage, and that the schedule of renovations would not be disrupted. "We plan to embrace and display the historic features of the building and deliver a modern, open and creative environment that will match
as an innovative technology company," said David Mounts, Inmar's chief executive, when the...
Tobacco wins ruling on warnings
Some of the nation's largest tobacco companies, including R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. , sued to block the mandate to include warnings to show the dangers of smoking and encouraging smokers to quit lighting up. They argued that the proposed warnings... Changes to more graphic warning labels that feature color images of the negative effects of tobacco use were mandated in a law passed in 2009 that, for the first time, gave the federal government authority to regulate tobacco. The case is separate from a lawsuit by several of the same tobacco companies over the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which cleared the way for the more graphic warning labels and other marketing restrictions. " Warning labels first appeared on U. S. cigarette packs in 1965, and current warning labels that feature a small box with text were put on cigarette packs in the mid-1980s. A federal appeals court
on Friday upheld a decision barring the federal government from requiring tobacco companies to put large graphic health warnings on cigarette packages to show that smoking can disfigure and even kill people. The nine graphic warnings proposed by the FDA include color images of a man exhaling cigarette smoke through a tracheotomy hole in his throat, and a plume of cigarette smoke enveloping an infant receiving a mother's kiss. The warnings were to cover the entire top half of cigarette packs, front and back, and include the phone number
for a stop-smoking hotline, 1-800-QUIT-NOW. The World Health Organization said in a survey done in countries with graphic labels that a majority of smokers noticed the warnings and more than 25 percent said the warnings led them to consider quitting. "While the tobacco industry has grown increasingly aggressive in preying upon the American public with misleading and fraudulent marketing practices over several decades, the warning labels have not been changed in 25 years," said John R. Seffrin,... And what the court is saying is that there are real limits on the ability of the government to require the manufacturer of a lawful product to denounce the product in the course of trying to sell it. " The FDA declined to comment on pending... Joining North Carolina-based R. J. Reynolds, owned by Reynolds American Inc. " The court also wrote that the FDA "has not provided a shred of evidence" showing that the warnings will "directly advance" its interest in reducing the number
of Americans who smoke. It's unclear why it hasn't budged, but some experts have cited tobacco company discount coupons on cigarettes and lack of funding for programs to discourage smoking or to help smokers quit. one of the few advertising levers left to them after the government curbed their presence in magazines, billboards and TV. "It's a significant vindication of First Amendment principles," said Floyd Abrams, an attorney representing Lorillard Tobacco. The government argued the photos of dead and diseased smokers are factual in conveying the dangers of tobacco, which is responsible for about 443,000 deaths in the U. S. a year. "Existing warnings have failed to inform the public adequately of the risks of tobacco use. The law also allowed the FDA to limit nicotine and banned tobacco companies from sponsoring athletic or social events or giving away free
samples or branded merchandise. In a 2-1 decision, the U. S. Court of Appeals in Washington affirmed a lower court ruling that the requirement ran afoul of the First Amendment's free speech protections. , and Lorillard Tobacco, owned by Lorillard Inc. Tobacco companies increasingly rely on their packaging to build brand loyalty and grab consumers &mdash. In the majority opinion, the appeals court wrote that the case raises "novel questions about the scope of the government's authority to force the manufacturer of a product to go beyond making purely factual and accurate commercial disclosures and... , Liggett Group LLC and Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company Inc. We hope the government can identify ways that the FDA can move forward with the new cigarette warning labels.