Public Health

I've Got the Marlboro Blues


Starting today, tobacco companies are no longer permitted to call their cigarettes "light," "low-tar," "mild," or "medium." Those adjectives, which are banned by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act based on the concern that they misleadingly imply a health advantage, will be replaced by color-coded packages: The product formerly known as Marlboro Lights will be called Marlboro Gold Pack, while Marlboro Menthol Milds will give way to Marlboro Menthol Blue Pack. Since the FDA cannot force consumers to use different terminology, retail interactions probably will not change much. "I'll ask for Newport Light 100s," one smoker tells A.P., "and I'll let them decipher it." Feel safer?

NEXT: The Bifurcated Tea Party

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  1. Does that mean the pack of Parliament Lights I bought today are a collector’s item?

  2. Thank you, government.

  3. …banned by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act…

    Any law or organization that starts with the word “Family,” you have to know it’s going to be 110% full of shit.

    1. Families Against Mandatory Minimums?

      (though I agree they are full of shit in their pluralization of Latin neuter nouns)

  4. How about a ban on government bullshit? Since the 20th century (and pretty much every single one previous to that) proved that governments are the entities most dangerous to individual health, we need laws restricting the ability of government to lie to us. Until those appear, and are enforced, the government should STFU.

    1. Wasn’t that one of the main purposes of the constitution? Call me crazy…

  5. And enforceing the use of Power Rangers color schemes will make cigarettes less attractive to children…

  6. American Spirits are already color coded. They’ve been thinking ahead for years.

    The retarded government bullshit is just coming at a faster and faster pace every week, for fuck’s sake. I cannot wait for the November elections, because if we get gridlock, a lot of this shit can hopefully stop or slow down.

  7. American Spirits are already color coded.

    I’m colorblind, so I had a great time at the store when they switched from three colors to fifteen.

    “Give me the 60% black ones?no, the other same-looking ones, with the blacker writing. No, those are lights. No, those are menthols. JUST GIMME THE DAMN BLACK ONES.”

    So I switched to the black ones. Luckily, they’re the best ones.

    Like dicks, yo.

    1. Yeah, the periques are pretty damn tasty. The organics are awful; weak on the nicotine but still harsh.

      1. Yeah, the periques are pretty damn tasty.

        For awhile, there was a company making perique cigars. Muy bien. And they smelled really, really nice, since perique is really a pipe tobacco.

  8. Gotta love $0.80 packs of cigarettes in Beijing… They go great with my whooping cough

  9. Pretty scary isnt it. Sadly, the big tobacco companies have US Lawmakers bought and paid for otherwise we could get rid of cigs altogether.


    1. Fuck you, you hypocritic opium smoking health nazibot.

    2. Pretty scary isn’t it. Sadly, the big telecom companies have US Lawmakers bought and paid for otherwise we could get rid of spambots altogether.

    3. Government at all levels makes way too much in tax revenue on cigarettes to ban them. They won’t tax them out of existence, and I don’t know why the tobacco lobby bothers.

      The government make exponentially more money per pack than the tobacco companies, so who are the real “merchants of death”?

      1. I would insert link to report, but don’t know how to do it here. I can’t even figure out how to format text with the reply fuction.

    4. Sadly, the big tobacco companies have US Lawmakers bought and paid for otherwise we could get rid of cigs altogether.

      Because that’s worked so well with heroin, cocaine, et al.

  10. Pretty scary isnt it. Sadly, the big tobacco companies have US Lawmakers bought and paid for otherwise we could get rid of cigs altogether.


  11. I’m confused. Are the blue ones the safe ones?, or is it gold?

    What’s the number for the FDA?

    1. I trust you will find this helpful.

  12. Here in lovely NYC, they’re running agitprop about this claiming that the Big Cig is trying to trick consumers with this new colored packaging.

    Oh, and in a blatant display of candor, the lovely state government, as part of its weekly keep-the-government-going circus, has decided to pay for their employees’ gold-plated benefits with yet another massive tax hike on smokers. Half of the legislators are admitted its all about spend, spend, spend. The other half are still pretending it’s for the children. Quite the farce.

    1. So what the fuck do they want them to do? Put all types of cigarettes in plain wrappers and sell them randomly to people?

      1. Who knows how these people’s minds work. You’d think the internal contradictions would make their heads explode.

  13. My favorite commercials are the ones about the “evil candy flavored cigarettes”, which liken cigarette makers to hunters baiting prey, presumably because they feared libel if they made the predators-candy-kids-pedophile connection.

    Funny, though, they don’t mention menthol. Racists.

  14. You fucking libertarians want children to smoke cigarettes and die in the gutter!

    1. Microwaved frozen burrito:

      Remove plastic packaging, unless you’re retarded. Put in microwave. Heat. Eat, while ignoring trolls.

    2. Oh come now Maxie, we only want you to die in the gutter… or anywhere really.

    3. Damn right. How else is Obammy gonna pay for my Lipitor?

    4. In fairness, we don’t want them to die in the gutter until they are adults.

  15. I am not sure if this change will have an impact on smoking or just simply make smoking more politically correct. It all boils down to money, There is money in tobacco therefore the Gov will always make sure we are using it in quantity. By the way Jacob Sullum I caught you on RT today. Great job! Maybe they should start taxation by weight, scales at check out counter dictates tax on food purchase. Laziness is the root of obesity, Doesnt matter what or where you eat, when you do nothing but sit and play video games, watch tv etc… You will get bigger.

  16. I really don’t think color coding and renaming will have any impact on sales. Tobacco equals money therefore the gov will always make sure we are using it in quantity. If you look at tobacco related deaths vs drug related deaths you will see tobacco the clear winner. Why are tax payers footing the bill for the war on drugs which has not made any progress in 40 years, Drug money income equals the same amount we spent to fight it.

  17. Look people, its right there in the Constitution

    Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press, unless it has to do with people running a business. Then, its all good.

  18. Even if they are not less bad for you, light cigarettes have lighter taste and feel. Why do we need to pretend that everyone is stupid? Why can’t these fucking people just be happy with the rapidly declining rates of smoking in the US and get on with their lives?

    1. People do understand the main feature which makes lights ‘light’, don’t they? At the filter end, the paper is pierced with a series of micro-holes, which cause ambient air to be introduced, diluting the draw.

      As such: if smoking half-a-pack per day is healthier than smoking a whole pack, then smoking lights is healthier than smoking non-lights.

      The only argument available for contending otherwise is that a person who smokes lights would, as a result of their reduced potency, tend to smoke a greater total number of cigarettes, thereby achieving effective parity between the two types, as regards health safety. This, however, would likely be fallacious, as it assumes there to be some particular, however undefined, yardstick for the total amount of smoke which a given smoker will desire to inhale per time span; i.e. that a person will tend to smoke x-amount of tobacco, necessarily increasing intake as potency diminishes. I find such an argument to be myopic, as it ignores the habitual component of so-called addiction completely, instead focusing solely on the purported chemical one.

    2. That’s why banning the word “mild” is even stupider – it implies nothing whatsoever other than taste.

  19. UPDATE: FDA goes certifiably regulatory over efforts to inform consumers of impending changes.

    Late last week, the FDA asked Altria Group Inc., the nation’s No. 1 maker of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, to provide information about material the company had been attaching to some of its brands, such as one small flier that said Marlboro Lights packs were changing. The packaging leaflet said smokers should ask for Marlboros in a gold pack in the future.

    In a letter to Altria, the FDA said it was concerned the leaflets would send a message to consumers that the new, color-coded packages are the same as the now-banned light, mild and low-tar packs, thus perpetuating the mistaken belief that they are less hazardous than regular cigarettes.…

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