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No more “light” and “mild” cigarettes…,,,

Updated 01:23 PM Feb 23, 2012

SINGAPORE – From March next year, words like “light’, “low-tar” and “mild” will be banned from the packaging of tobacco products, while a new set of graphic warnings will replace current ones.

Also, the maximum tar and nicotine yield levels in cigarettes will be reduced, and current labels indicating tar and nicotine yield levels on cigarette packaging will be replaced with new ones that inform smokers of chemicals other than tar and nicotine in a cigarette.

These are among the changes that will come about following the amendments in 2010 to the Smoking (Control of Advertisements and Sale of Tobacco) Act.

Explaining the changes, Health Promotion Board (HPB) CEO Ang Hak Seng said: “There is no evidence that ‘light’ and ‘mild’ cigarettes are any less harmful. Yet many smokers, who want to quit the habit but found it challenging, tend to switch to cigarettes with these descriptors, because they think these cigarettes are less harmful.”

A survey by the HPB in 2009 found that 63 per cent of smokers believed that “light” cigarettes were less harmful than “regular” cigarettes compared to 28 per cent of smokers who indicated no difference between the two.

“It is, therefore, imperative that Singapore bans such misleading descriptors. The ban on misleading labelling will affect about a quarter of the cigarette brands currently sold in Singapore,” said the HPB.

The maximum tar and nicotine yield levels in cigarettes will be reduced from 15mg and 1.3mg to 10mg and 1.0mg respectively, with the HPB stressing that these are not “safety” limits and “no level of toxicity and addictiveness can be deemed to be safe in cigarettes”.

The graphic health warnings on individual cigarette packs will also be extended to outer packaging such as carton packaging.

And cigarillos will have to be sold in packs of 20 instead of the current 10

The HPB said a briefing session was held this morning to communicate the amendments to the tobacco industry. The tobacco industry has until March next year to implement these changes.


Copyright 2012 MediaCorp Pte Ltd | All Rights Reserved

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