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New Law Regulates How Tobacco Companies Label Their Products


Yesterday was the one year anniversary of the FDA having authority over the tobacco industry. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports 400,000 Americans die every year from tobacco-related illnesses. As part of their attempt to improve the health of Americans and steer young children away from tobacco products, the FDA is now prohibiting packaging using the terms “light,” “ultra-light,” “mild,” or “low”.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports 400,000 Americans die every year from tobacco-related illnesses. The law is designed to make sure tobacco manufacturers are more responsible with their advertising. Smokers will no longer see the words "light," "low" or "mild" on their cigarette boxes. That's because the new law bans words that can mislead smokers into thinking they are choosing a healthy product.

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These terms were designed by the industry to mislead consumers, who often think incorrectly and that products that carry these labels are less dangerous than other tobacco products," said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) in a statement. Waxman presided over the notorious congressional hearing in the 1990s when tobacco executives swore under oath that nicotine was not addictive.

The new law will not stop major tobacco company Philip Morris USA who sent out onserts with their light and mild cigarettes that said, “Your Marlboro Lights pack is changing. But your cigarette stays the same. In the future, ask for Marlboro in the gold pack.” The FDA is addressing the tobacco companies motives and sent them a letter.

Although many consumers think that tobacco companies use recipes for each of their cigarette lines, the truth is that "full flavor" and light cigarettes use the same tobacco blend, but have slightly different designs. Light cigarettes (or the cigarettes formerly known as "light") have small holes near the filter, and as the smoker inhales, air comes in through the perforations, diffusing the smoke. Ultra light cigarettes have even larger holes, permitting more air and further thinning out the smoke.
The other changes that are taking effect on the year anniversary the FDA is requiring a larger and stronger warning labels on all smokeless tobacco products and in advertisements. It will also not permit selling cigarettes in less than 20 cigarettes per pack as well as offering free things to attract people like free T shirts.

The new rules will help achieve the American Heart Association's (AHA) goal of improving the nation's cardiovascular health by 2020, said AHA CEO Nancy Brown, MD. "The one-year anniversary of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act brings new consumer protections that will make it increasingly difficult for the tobacco industry to recruit the next Marlboro man, woman, or child," Brown said in a press release. "With many important provisions already in effect, we can celebrate the lives we have saved with rules restricting Big Tobacco's deceptive marketing practices, particularly towards children."