Twenty percent of smokers incorrectly assume that lighter colors of cigarette packs—silver, gold or white—are less dangerous than black or red brands, a new study shows. Science Daily reports that the study of more than 8,000 smokers from the United States, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom found that American smokers were mostly likely to hold his false belief.
The researchers note in the journal Addiction that the words ‘light’ and ‘mild’ are prohibited in cigarette marketing in more than 50 countries. Science Daily says that all conventional brands of cigarettes present an equal level of risk to smokers, including ‘mild’ and ‘low-tar’ brands. The article notes that the confusion among smokers may come from brands that changed their ‘light’ cigarette brands to ‘silver’ and ‘gold’ brands; Marlboro Lights, for instance, became Marlboro Gold.
The study also found that smokers often falsely believe that slim cigarettes are less dangerous; cigarettes with harsh tastes are more harmful than those with smoother tastes; filters reduce cigarettes’ risk; and nicotine is the cause of most of the cancer from cigarettes.
Dr. David Hammond, one of the study authors, says the study supports the benefits of new regulations to take effect in Australia that will require cigarettes to be sold in packages with the same plain color, with no graphics or logos.