From the ridiculousity files: a new US law bans the sale and advertisement of cigarettes which use the words “light”, “mild”, or “low” in their packaging. This, I do not understand at all.
Of course the tobacco companies still make what were previously known as “light” cigarettes, they just aren’t allowed to label them that way any more. Philip Morris USA, who makes the Marlboro brand cigarettes, notified their customers before this law took effect, informing them that the packaging would be changing, but the contents would remain the same, urging them to ask for their smoke of choice by color (e.g., Marlboro “Lights” are in a gold colored package).
The FDA already doesn’t know what to do about this, and various activist groups are calling it deceptive advertising, a means of “sidestepping” the new legislation — despite the fact that Marlboro Lights have had a gold and white package for decades, and Marlboro Reds have had a red package, etc.
The FDA sent a letter last week to Philip Morris USA questioning the terms included in Marlboro Lights packs before the ban [asking] for documentation from the cigarette maker to determine if it was deliberately circumventing the law.
The tortured logic goes something like this: There is no “safe” cigarette. Labels like “light” or “mild” mislead consumers in to thinking that a particular flavor is better or less dangerous than others. Therefore, the FDA must act to prohibit this deceptive advertising by disallowing certain names.
Taken to its logical conclusion, eventually they’ll require all cigarettes be sold in the same packaging (that way nobody is “deceived” by the gold color on the cigarettes FKA “Marlboro Lights”).
But is there anything more deceptive than forcing a manufacturer to use the same labels and packaging on what is, in reality, differentiated products? If Marlboro makes 10 or 20 (I don’t know) different types of cigarettes from different tobacco blends, menthol, non-menthol, etc., how other than the packaging and the name will anyone be able to ask for what they want?