The Death of “Low Tar” Cigarettes… Or Maybe Not

Cigarette manufacturers will no longer be able to feature brands as “low tar” or “light.” And while David Kessler, former head of the Food and Drug Administration, urged to regulate nicotine levels in cigarettes, cancer researchers did not say about some questionable numbers about cancer risk from smokeless tobacco offered up by the National Cancer Institute. At the same time, the American Medical Association called on the Food and Drug Administration to ban electronic cigarettes.

Hiding nicotine news is intrinsically doubtful, since the tobacco products are a legal drug responsible for a huge amount of tax revenues.

Pall Mall Blue cigarettes

Pall Mall Blue cigarettes

Nevertheless, Congress gave the Food and Drug Administration new regulatory power over cigarettes in 2009 with the passage of the Tobacco Control Act of 2009. Last week, provisions that “ban the advertising or labeling of cigarettes with the descriptors ‘light,’ ‘mild,’ or ‘low’ or similar descriptors” without specific permission from the Food and Drug Administration became effective. Besides, health warning inscriptions will be strengthened on smokeless tobacco packaging.

“As the Food and Drug Administration continues realization of the Tobacco Control act, we are going to guarantee that the taken by us actions are grounded in science and are transparent with participation by various interested parties,” it is said in a media release from the agency’s Center for Tobacco Products.

The problem is that the America tobacco industry is already a jump ahead of the FDA’s measured approach. Stephen Smith said that the tobacco industry plans to preserve the colors and soon-to-be banned words ‘mild,’ ‘light,’ and ‘ultralight’.

Thus, Pall Mall Lights are now Pall Mall Blues. Salem Lights become known as Salem Gold Box. Stanton Glantz, tobacco control specialist of the University of California, said that these tricks became well-established. “The question for the FDA is, are they going to avert these machinations?”

The Food and Drug Administration is changing colors of the cigarette packages, processing the warning labels, starting to focus on menthol in cigarettes, but one of the things it won’t do is reducing the nicotine levels in cigarettes. David Kessler urges that this is the only existent method to make a difference in addiction rates. Kessler said: “The tobacco industry knew 40 years ago that there was a bound below which people would stop. Lowering the level of nicotine in cigarettes will change initial smoking. It is the last strategy for reducing harm.”

Meanwhile, the American Medical Association called on the FDA to regulate e-cigarettes. AMA board member Edward Langston said that there are just some evidences that e-cigarettes are safe. “Electronic cigarettes have not been completely tested, and that is why it is impossible to make a conclusion that they are less harmful than ordinary cigarettes.” The AMA underlined that electronic cigarettes are available as well in different candy and fruit flavors.

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