Tobacco marketers are getting colourful in their battle against legislative curbs on pack design and nomenclature.

In the wake of a European Commission directive banning use of the words “light” and “mild” in relation to cigarettes and tobacco, marketers have coined the euphemisms “blue”, “gold” and “smooth” to distinguish the characteristics of their brands.

Imperial Tobacco will rebrand Lambert & Butler Lights as Lambert & Butler Gold, while SuperKings Light become SuperKings Blue.

Gallaher is following suit, renaming Benson & Hedges Special Filter to B&H Gold, while Silk Cut drops the descriptives King Size, Extra Mild, and Ultra in favour of purple, blue, and silver. “Smooth” will replace the term “low tar” on brands such as Camel, Berkeley, Mayfair and Sovereign.

Imperial managing director Graham Blahill called it “bizarre” that the EU initially demanded lower tar yields only to ban the use of descriptors that enabled consumers to identify brands with the lower yields.

A Brussels bureaucrat countered that the new rules, which come into force in October, will correct a misapprehension among smokers that low-tar cigarettes are healthier

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff