Different Colored Cigarette Packs, Same Deadly Diseases

New (left) and old (right) packages of Marlboro LightsThe landmark tobacco legislation President Obama signed last year banned tobacco companies from using descriptors like "light," "ultralight," "low tar" and "mild" on cigarette labels starting June 22. An FDA guidance document points out that when tobacco companies introduced "light" and "ultralight" cigarettes in the 1960s and 1970s, the implicit message (pdf) in their advertising was that these products were safer and healthier than regular-strength cigarettes. People believed it, and the same belief persists today, as many many smokers still mistakenly believe that "light" and "low tar" cigarettes are safer and cause fewer health problems than full-flavor cigarettes. While tobacco companies will no longer be able to describe their products using misleading words, they aren't too worried. Instead, over the last year or so, they have simply changed the colors of the packs to convey the same message, eventually training people to recognize "light" and "low tar" cigarettes by color instead of words on the pack. All Salem cigarette packages, for example, used to be the same shade of green, but now Salem "lights" are a lighter-colored green and white, and "ultralight" cigarette packs will be pale gray and white. R.J. Reynolds argues that the "smoking experience" is the cigarettes' appeal, not safety, and that different-colored packages will ensure that smokers can still get the taste they desire from cigarettes. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-California) thinks differently, saying the industry has just found a way to evade the law and continue misleading consumers.


This is really confusing, I thought that cigarettes labeled with "lights" contains less nicotine that a full flavored one?

I know that Light smokes taste different than normal ones, but I keep hearing that they have the same amount of tar and other chemicals. Perhaps it is just another ploy by the cig companies to keep people addicted to their products? Keep in mind that when they lose smokers, they lose money...so it wouldnt surprise me if they did something to mislead us.

When I was smoking light cigarettes I used to have more problems with breathing then with "normal" cigarettes. Luckily, I managed to quit ...

Only the Pack of the cigarettes are changing. Even they put descriptors like "light," "ultralight," "low tar" and "mild" on cigarette labels, cigarette is still a cigarette it still contains those harmful chemicals that are not good for our health and also in our environment.

You've got very catchy title for this post and I just couldn't agree more with it. I just hope that people who use "cigarettes" will find something else to do to ease their anxiety or their habit because this habit is really not good for them.

Its hard to believe that there are still people who think that some cigarettes are less harmful than others.
However, I do wonder if in the end this would make any difference to whether they smoke or not. As smoking is an addiction, I feel sure that they will continue to smoke cigarettes regardless of the colour of the packaging, the wording on the packs or anything else they may be told.
People start smoking for all sorts of different reasons and need to have their own motivation to stop.

Is there a way to stops tobacco companies misleading the consumers? I was a smoker too, and I used to smoke light cigarettes believing it wasn't that damaging. So this is some new info!

I see the point that all cigarettes are dangerous. I would think everyone knows this fact. Still yet, if someone is going to smoke, it won't matter to them if the package color has changed or if the package continues to indicate light, ultra light, etc.

I don't really feel that the government should be making tobacco companies do this. Does it really matter whether or not people think lights are safer or not. It's not like anybody thinks cigarettes of any kind are safe.