Health officials yesterday said they want to forbid tobacco companies from using words like “light” or “soft” on cigarette packages and in advertisements.
Department of Health National Laboratories of Food and Drugs director Chen Shu-kong said a proposal that is being drawn up is designed to prevent consumers from being misled into thinking “light” cigarettes are somehow “better” for them.
Chen noted that both local and foreign tobacco companies are increasingly claiming their cigarettes have low levels of tar and nicotine.
However, if health officials get their way, those companies will no longer be able to promote their wares as being “light” or “low tar.”
A spokesperson for the anti-smoking John Tung Foundation pointed out that similar restrictions are already in place in places like Canada and the European Union.
Lin Ching-lee also noted that a nurse in the U.S. was awarded US$150 million in damages in a suit against tobacco companies in which she claimed that she was led to believe that mild cigarettes were less hazardous to her health than regular ones.
Chen also said that starting in 2007, local standards for the levels of tar and nicotine permissible in cigarettes will be tightened.