Despite the EU ban on any claims that some cigarettes are safer than others, a number of brands have found a loophole to exploit. A survey of 1,300 people has found that products using the terms “smooth”, “silver” or “gold” are generally believed to be healthier and easier to give up. However, when show plain packets, this belief disappears, University of Nottingham researchers discovered.
800 adult smokers and 500 teenagers all in the UK took part in study, which required them to compare certain cigarette packs. They were asked to evaluate what they assumed they would be like in terms of taste, tar levels, health risk, attractiveness, how easy they would be to give up and how attractive they would be to someone choosing to smoke for the first time.
The results show that the lighter the colour of the packaging the less harmful they were believed to have been. An example of this being exhibited by Marlboro packs with a gold label. This pack of cigarettes were rated as having a lower health risk by 53% of adults and easier to quit by 31%, when compared with the Marlboro packs with a red logo.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health, said the research showed all tobacco products should be sold in plain packaging.
“That would remove false beliefs about different brands and communicate the message that all cigarettes are dangerous.”