Studies conclude cigarette packaging misleading, needs changes

Tobacco manufacturers have misled consumers about the risks of their products and action is needed to help consumers make informed decisions about the products they intend to buy, three studies published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine have concluded.

“Tobacco companies have used attractive packaging and persuasive images to market their products for decades,” said lead author Maansi Bansal-Travers, a behavioral research scientist at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. “These studies support efforts by the Federal Food and Drug Administration to regulate cigarette pack labeling.”
Tobacco manufacturers have used design, colors and wording that create the illusion that filtered or “light/mild” cigarettes are safer, which is not the case, research-reporting news service Newswise reports. Since June 2010, tobacco companies have been prohibited from using “light” or “mild” terms on their packaging, according to provisions in the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. “While the removal of these obviously misleading terms was a good first step, we discovered that cigarette manufacturers have circumvented the regulation by using different terms such as ‘gold’ and ‘silver’ and changing the colors on the pack to continue to mislead consumers about their products,” Bansal-Travers said.
The first study, “What Do Cigarette Pack Colors Communicate to Smokers in the U.S.?”, recommended color-coding be restricted. The second paper found “larger graphic health warnings that convey negative messages are the most effective in communicating health risks to adults,” Newswise reports. The third study, “Correcting Over 50 Years of Tobacco Industry Misinformation,” found putting statements on tobacco packaging that correctly warn of the use of tobacco products makes a different in correcting false beliefs about smoking and health. (Read more)
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