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Cigarette packaging ‘still misleading’

29th July 2009

Cigarette packaging is still misleading consumers over health hazards and tougher regulations are required, according to new research.

In the Journal of Public Health, researchers found the majority of consumers still believe that cigarettes are less hazardous when a pack displays words such as “silver” or “smooth”, lower numbers are incorporated into the brand name, and lighter colours or pictures of filters are shown on the pack.

The researchers have called for the list of words banned from packaging to be expanded and suggested other design elements may need to be prohibited to prevent consumers from believing one brand is less harmful than another.

David Hammond, a professor of health studies at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, said: “The truth is that all cigarettes are equally hazardous, regardless of the filter type, what colour the pack is or what words appear on it. These tactics are giving consumers a false sense of reassurance that simply does not exist.”

Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide. The World Health Organization estimates it kills more than five million people a year.

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