May 19, 2024

Light Cigarettes for a Smoother Experience

Light Cigarettes for Smoother Experience

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In response to increasing evidence of the harms associated with cigarette smoking, tobacco companies have developed new product innovations such as low-tar and light cigarettes [1-4]. The “light” cigarette is distinguished by a design element (filter ventilation) and brand descriptor (“light”) that convey the notion that these cigarettes are less harmful than regular brands. Moreover, machine testing of “light” cigarettes has shown that they produce lower levels of tar and nicotine than regular cigarettes.

Gentle on the Palate: Embrace Light Cigarettes for a Smooth Smoking Experience

Even though most “lights” smokers acknowledge that there is no scientific evidence that these cigarettes are safer or less harmful than regular cigarettes, most of them believe that light cigarettes are smoother on the throat and chest, a sensory belief that appears to reinforce beliefs about health benefits and lower risk. Consistent with the findings of Yong et al.,7 mean levels of endorsement of the belief that lights cigarettes are smoother on the throat and chest declined between 2002 and 2006, but rebounded somewhat by 2007 and remained relatively stable through 2013, with no obvious effect of the 2009 removal of tar and nicotine numbers and the 2010 ban on the use of light/low descriptors on pack labeling (Supplementary Figure 3A).

It is possible that future steps to reduce misleading tobacco marketing could include eliminating all designs that convey the impression that smoke is less harsh, including banning filter vents, and limiting the use of color and textural cues on packs to indicate strength. In addition, health regulators should act to ensure that all cigarette packaging clearly discloses the amount of nicotine in each cigarette and its related risks.

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