According to several public health organizations, the claims of cigarette companies regarding their willingness to obey the new regulations in marketing low-tar cigarettes are controversial, as they would literary complain but still, conceal the truth.
Starting with June 2010, in compliance with Tobacco Control Act, it will be prohibited for cigarette makers to name their products as “light” or “low-tar” suggesting that some styles are less harmful than others are.
However, in a move, which opponents state circumvents the latest law, tobacconists intend to use colors to make distinctions between their products.
Moreover, R.J. Reynolds, the second largest tobacco company in America, changed the names of major growth brands several months ago. Pall Mall Lights changed into Pall Mall Blue and Salem Ultra Lights to Salem Silver.
Meantime, anti-smoking advocates criticize the move. Gregory N. Connolly from the Harvard Public Health School stated tobacco giants are trying to evade the legislation, as they are applying specific colors to maintain one of the most misleading product descriptions and adapt it for current reality.
The provision, coming into force in June does not ban cigarette industry from manufacturing low-tar cigarettes, but just from naming them “light” in advertising. The companies admit they are honoring the letter of the new law and should be eligible to use colors to deliver various product styles to adult smokers.
However, senior marketing director for Altria, owner of Philip Morris argued that colors have been in use for years as they serve to identify different brands and styles of cigarette products, and tobacco industry has never used colors to emphasize that one product is safer than the other.
James E. Dillard IIII, Altria’s vice president sent a letter to U.S. Food And Drug Administration, stating that baring the industry from using colors would be not constitutional in conformity with their commercial speech rights.
The Tobacco Control Act approved last year provided the FDA with legal and broad power to regulate tobacco industry. Among other ordinances, there is one that requires cigarette makers to prove the Agency that their products are less harmful than other products prior to marketing them as safer ones.
In January, the FDA said in statement that it might ban the usage of such colors as silver or blue, which major tobacconists are intending to write on cigarette packs, in place of the words “light” or “Ultra-light”.
FDA communications manager, Kathleen Quinn, admitted they would carefully revise the usage of colors and publish the results of their investigation by June 22, the first anniversary of the legislation’s implementation and the date of the wording ban coming into effect.
Tobacco giants are already using colors instead of terms such as “light” and “ultra-light” in almost 80 countries around the world.
By Clark Moore, Staff Writer
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