NY: Cigarette packs using colors deceiving

June 22, 2010 at 1:19 AM
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BUFFALO, N.Y., June 22 (UPI) -- Tobacco firms are using colors to replace banned descriptors on cigarette packs such as "light," "mild" and "low tar," a New York health official says.

Dr. Richard F. Daines, New York's commissioner of health, says the New York state Smokers' Quitline and Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, N.Y., are beginning an educational campaign July 1 to alert consumers to the deceptive marketing tactics of the tobacco industry.

"While banning these misleading product descriptors is appropriate, it is not enough," Daines, says in a statement. "What we see is that the cigarette companies are merely substituting pack colors to continue the deception."

Daines says Philip Morris sent a chart explaining to retailers a new color scheme in which Marlboro Regular is Marlboro Red, Marlboro Light is Marlboro Gold, Marlboro Mild becomes Marlboro Blue and Marlboro Ultra-Lights become Marlboro Silver.

Maansi Bansal-Travers, director of Roswell Park's Health Communications Testing Lab, says color and product descriptions used in cigarette package design are misleading to consumers.

"In a mall intercept study when we showed people different packs of cigarettes, one lighter than the other, almost everyone said the cigarettes in the lighter pack would deliver less tar, be easier to quit and be less harmful," Bansal-Travers says.

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