5 Dirty Facts about Cigarette Packages

by Dr Antonio Howell, MD

in quit smoking

The 3 Week Diet

So you think it is just a cigarette packaging? Think again. Due to the policies banning many forms of advertisements, tobacco manufacturers have started to focus on cigarette packaging as an important tool in attracting potential smokers. Well, that’s not that hard for them because they are confident that just one – just one try and majority of these people will be hooked to smoking.


So how do tobacco manufacturers manipulate packages to sell death? Here are important facts that you should know about cigarette packaging:

1)  Cigarette packages make tobacco more appealing. Tobacco manufacturers make use of colors and illustrations to attract people from different populations and age groups by creating a sense of personality, status and desirability. In 2011, tobacco companies spent $8.37 billion in advertisements and promotions.

2)  Lighter-colored packages are perceived as less harmful. A 2011 study involving 197 smokers and 200 non-smokers revealed that most people perceive cigarettes in light-colored packages as having less tar content, smoother taste, and fewer harmful effects. In another study, smokers who were most concerned about their overall health chose cigarettes in white packages as the safest “option”.

3)   The use of “light” and “mild” in cigarette packages provide false belief to consumers. In summer of 2010, most consumers noticed a change in the packaging of tobacco products. The popular “Marlboro Light”, for instance, became “Marlboro Gold”.  That’s because the FDA banned the use of words “light”, “mild” and “low” after finding out that these labels make consumers believe that what they are smoking is far less harmful than the regular cigarettes, when it fact, it’s just the same.

4)  Glitzy cigarette packs are targeted to young consumers. A study by the Cancer Research UK suggests that glitzy and glamorous cigarette packaging entice kids into smoking. These packs have unusual shapes (like giant lighters), colors and systems of opening. Some have slim ‘perfume’ type packages. In contrast, plain, standardized packaging reduced the appeal of cigarettes to young people.


5)  Plain packages might be a better option, studies find. Several studies suggest that as the number of designs or elements in cigarette packages decrease, so do the positive perceptions about smoking. Experts say that “plain packaging” is likely to make smoking less appealing for teenagers and adults, put an end to the belief that some brands of tobacco are less harmful than the others, and make health warnings on cigarette packs more prominent.


Until now, there’s still a huge debate regarding the policies on cigarette packaging. And most probably, even if the government succeeds in making cigarettes less appealing to consumers, it is not going to eradicate the rising problem of tobacco use in the country. Surely, tobacco companies will find a way, just like what they have been doing for decades. Basically, these companies are very much skilled in selling “death” to people. Perhaps the best solution is to completely ban the sale and production of cigarettes and other tobacco products. But then, that’s another battle that is really difficult to win.


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