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.


That's true! When I used to smoke, no matter which type of cigarette, my health was deteriorating at the same rate! I think the light ones have just fewer leaves and all other things remaining the same...Well, I'm happy that I've stopped smoking, so, I don't really care about the stuff now :)

Good for you... I've stop smoking through Hypnosis... thank God I was able to overcome the urge... Anyway, what Obama did is not complete... people are still misguided by the color coding made by these cigarette companies...

me too... i've tried hypnosis a year ago and now I no longer feel the urge to smoke....it's really very effective...

the truth is it always come down to the fact that smoking will still harm you in many ways and lights are just a way of people pretending to go for the healthy option when there really is no healthy option. you are better off on stronger nicotine patches than smoking at all! QUIT WHILE YOU STILL CAN.

That article was for me a revelation.

I try to quit smoking for some time, but always I restart with a light cigarettes.

My friends also, look at the package and when they read the label with nicotine and the other toxic stuff are pleased to see that this chemicals are lesser in the lighter version.

And indeed, the color is misleading us....

this is very true, there are a lots of people today who suffered from lung cancer, because of cigarettes.

but....don't light cigarettes actually contain less tar? I don't see in the article anything about actual tar levels or what the difference is between light and full flavor. help me out with this.

I mean. it's totally agreed that they'll do whatever they have to to keep the profits up. But I guess I don't see the problem with labeling something as light if it indeed has less tar.

...but a result of a cigarette's combustion. Less tar may result from burning a "low tar" cigarette, but you must also consider several other factors. One is cigarette design. The way cigarette companies reduce the delivery of tar and nicotine is by putting hundreds of tiny holes near the filter end of the cigarette, so more air is entrained during active puffing, diluting the smoke. Because the smoke is dilute, low-tar smokers inhale more deeply and frequently to get as much nicotine as their body needs to feel "satisfied." These deeper inhalations pull the tar and other chemicals deeper into the lungs, nullifying any implied beneficial effect.

Anne Landman

It seems like the appropriate role here for government would be to get accurate information out to the public. Then, people can make an educated decision on what cigarettes to buy. Banning certain words seems to be an over-reach.

I have to admit that I fell this one when I was a smoker. I thought that Marlborgh Lights were better than the normal red standard packs - this I now know to be wrong.
I gave up though a few years ago - I'm not anti-smoking or anyhting like that but would encourage all smokers to try and quit or at least really cut down on the numbers you're smoking - you'll feel better for it and you'll have more money to spend on other things. Good Luck.