Limiting Branding of Cigarettes May Do Little to Hold Down Addiction

By Staff Writer

Whether placing graphic warning labels on cigarette packaging or banning the use of menthol, there have been many ideas floated recently for how to limit cigarette addiction. However, a new study from a team of Australian researchers found that one proposed method – prohibiting the use of the word “light” – does little to help people quit.

After analyzing beliefs about so-called mild or light cigarettes in Australia, Canada and the UK – three countries that have all banned such branding – researchers from the Cancer Council Victoria found that there was a temporary slight reduction in the number of people who misperceived these products to be healthier.

However, shortly after the laws were enacted and media attention died away, the number of people who mistakenly believed light cigarettes to be healthier returned to high levels.

The authors of the study concluded that prohibiting these branding techniques may provide some short-term benefit, but it is not a sufficient strategy for reducing the prevalence of nicotine addiction.

To accomplish this goal, helping more people access drug rehab programs could have a positive impact.