Social Marketing: Theoretical and Practical Perspectives

By Marvin E. Goldberg; Martin Fishbein et al. | Go to book overview
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Chapter 14
Low Yield, Light, and Ultra Light Cigarettes: Let's Understand the Product Before We Promote

Lynn T. Kozlowski
Christine T. Sweeney
The Pennsylvania State University


Low yield, light, and ultra light cigarettes have been aggressively promoted by cigarette manufacturers to help keep health-conscious smokers smoking. The industry move to lower tar cigarettes, however, has been shown to mislead consumers and promote continued smoking, rather than actually reducing risks to continuing smokers. Current consumers of low yield cigarettes need to be informed of the risks of using these products. The impressions created by advertising and marketing "safer" cigarettes needs to be met with systematic countermarketing. These campaigns and messages need to be informed by an understanding of the product. This chapter describes the Federal Trade Commission Method for testing the tar and nicotine yields of cigarettes and describes how cigarettes are constructed to produce reduced yields on smoking machines, yet high yields in the hands and mouths of smokers. Special attention will be given to issues related to ventilated-filter cigarettes. Most, if not all, cigarettes delivering less than 15 mg of tar are ventilated-filter cigarettes. This design feature allows the manufacturer to reduce tar and nicotine levels by simple manipulations (increasing filter air dilution from 0% to 80-90%). Vents can even be placed invisibly on the filters. Evidence shows that about 50% of smokers behaviorally block filter vents with their fingers or lips and thereby increase the tar and nicotine yields from these cigarettes. In the extreme, the lowest yield cigarettes (1 mg tar) can be turned into medium to high yield cigarettes (11 mg to 28 mg tar) by alterations in smoking


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