COLUMBIA, S.C. — Four of the five largest U.S. tobacco companies sued the federal government Tuesday over new graphic cigarette labels that include the sewn-up corpse of a smoker and a picture of diseased lungs, saying the warnings violate their free speech rights and will cost millions of dollars to print.

The companies, led by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Lorillard Tobacco Co., said the warnings no longer simply convey facts to allow people to make a decision whether to smoke. They instead force them to put government anti-smoking advocacy more prominently on their packs than their own brands, the companies say. They want a judge to stop the labels.

“Never before in the United States have producers of a lawful product been required to use their own packaging and advertising to convey an emotionally-charged government message urging adult consumers to shun their products,” the companies wrote in the lawsuit filed in federal court in Washington, D.C.

The FDA refused to comment, saying the agency does not discuss pending litigation. But when she announced the new labels in June, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius called them frank and honest warnings about the dangers of smoking.

The FDA approved nine new warnings to rotate on cigarette packs. They’ll be printed on the entire top half, front and back, of the packaging. The new warnings also must constitute 20 percent of any cigarette advertising. They also all include a number for a stop-smoking hotline.

The lawsuit said the images were manipulated to be especially emotional.

Also joining the suit are Commonwealth Brands Inc., Liggett Group LLC and Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co. Inc. Altria Group Inc., parent of Philip Morris USA, is not a part of the suit.