* Argue act hurts right to communicate with adult smokers
* Lawsuit filed in federal court in Kentucky (Adds plaintiff names, background)
CHICAGO - The makers of Camel and Kool cigarettes and other tobacco companies filed suit in federal court on Monday to try to block provisions of a recently enacted U.S. tobacco law they say would interfere with their right to communicate with adult smokers.
Reynolds American Inc units R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co and Conwood Co LLC and Lorillard Inc were among those that filed the suit, which challenges the law giving the Food and Drug Administration oversight over tobacco products.
The suit cites free speech provisions of the U.S. Constitution.
The tobacco legislation was signed into law on June 22 and gives the government broad regulatory power for the first time over cigarettes and other tobacco products.
It allows the FDA to put strict limits on the manufacturing and marketing of tobacco products, but stops short of allowing it to ban cigarettes or their addictive ingredient nicotine. The measure also calls for larger warnings on cigarette packages, restricts vending machine sales, bans most flavored products and further curbs print advertisements targeting children. The FDA also will have final say over new products and marketing claims such as light and low tar.
The companies in the lawsuit argue it goes too far in limiting the commercial speech of tobacco companies.
Even prior to the Act, plaintiffs had few avenues of communication for speaking to their adult consumers, e.g., the ban on advertising on television and radio, the plaintiffs said in the lawsuit. The Act imposes sweeping and unprecedented restrictions that effectively foreclose those avenues of communication that remain.
Other plaintiffs in the lawsuit include cigarette maker Commonwealth Brands Inc; tobacco retailer Discount Tobacco city & Lottery Inc; and tobacco company National Tobacco Co LP.
Defendants include the FDA, its commissioner, Margaret Hamburg, and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
The case was filed in U.S. District Court in Bowling Green, Kentucky. (Reporting by Brad Dorfman; editing by John Wallace and Andre Grenon)