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.


I've seen my friends changed their brand every now and then. They don't care what color. They cared bout the "taste" which i don't know about. If i have no sinusitis i might be an smoker too. but this is for sure. once you are addicted to these cigarettes color does not matter and price as well... :-)

My country has banned public smoking recently. And I do find less people smoking now. But there is this increasing habit of chewing (Guthka), and that too is very dangerous leading oral cancer. Also this habit is visibly very dirty. All this big companies manufacturing it should be banned if Govt. is really serious about public health.

I think the more pressing issue here is the fact that people are stupid enough to fall for stuff like this.

I am embarrassed to admit I also thought light cigarettes are safer. I guess smokers convince themselves smoking them will cause less damage...
The tobacco companies always find ways to bypass the law in order to sell more of their poison. Raising the cost of cigarettes was the smartest thing to do until now. In Thailand they put images of smokers with cancer but still - nothing helps. People are immune to this kind of frightening messages.

Unfortunately, tobacco companies need to keep selling their products and finding new markets to replace defunct ones (people who can actually quit!) is necessary in order to survive in our capitalistic system. That's how it works. Sorry to be cynical but if this is the system we want then we have to learn to live with it.

mistaken belief their "light" cigarettes are less harmful than other cigarettes.

So does this mean that "light" cigarettes only have lighter flavor and the same tar and nicotine? Still, any amount of tar and nicotine can't be good for your body, "light" or not.

If the labels have really caused a general misconception, then it's right for the government to step in for false advertising.

yeah i do believe that cigarettes can cause different deceases like lung cancer, because my Grand father died because of her habit of smoking.

That's an excellent move by President Obama. In order to aware the smokers on what really the effect of the cigarettes and might use it in moderate because the effect is same to all kinds of cigars. I am on to it.

This is really confusing, I thought that cigarettes labeled with "lights" contains less nicotine that a full flavored one and what about latin america its all the same packgages.