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Study Brands ‘Light’ and ‘Ultralight’ Cigarettes a “Scam”

News, 28 November 2001


A study from the National Cancer Institute has slammed the terms ‘light’ and ‘ultralight’ used in cigarette brands as a “scam” by tobacco firms to “intercept” smokers thinking of quitting.

The research found no evidence that switching to brands using the terms actually reduces the risk of cancer, even though this is exactly what many smokers might believe. Although such products may contain reduced amounts of tar or nicotine, smokers tend to mitigate this by getting through more cigarettes or inhaling more deeply.

In response, tobacco makers refuted claims that they employ the terms to suggest reduced risk. Philip Morris argued that the packaging of such brands includes warnings that tar and nicotine inhalation reflects smoking habits, and that ‘light’ and ‘ultralight’ benefited customers “as a point of reference.”

The Federal Trade Commission revealed Tuesday it had asked the Health and Human Services Department to propose better ways to classify cigarettes.

News source: AdAge.com