State Health Department Announces Campaign to Expose "Light" Cigarettes

"Light Cigarettes - Don't be Fooled" Ad Campaign Targets Tobacco Industry Myths

ALBANY, March 19, 2007 - Acting State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D., today kicked off a statewide media campaign "Light Cigarettes-Don't be Fooled" to alert smokers about the hidden dangers of so-called "light" cigarettes. Studies have shown that smokers who use "low tar" and or "light cigarettes" use their fingers to cover the vent holes in light cigarettes, causing them to inhale more deeply and thereby reducing or eliminating the so-called tar reducing effect. Tobacco is the leading cause of death from lung cancer, heart disease and stroke in New York State.

"We want smokers to be fully informed about "light" cigarettes and not be fooled by misleading ads that "low tar" and "light" cigarettes can lower health risks for smokers," said Dr. Daines. "Contrary to what tobacco companies would have you believe "light" cigarettes are NOT safer than regular cigarettes and may be more dangerous if smokers put off quitting smoking because they think "light" cigarettes provide less health risks.

"Light Cigarettes - Don't be Fooled "ads will appear during the next six weeks on television, the Internet and in newspapers statewide at the cost of $2,882,346 as part of New York's tobacco settlement. The key message of the two TV ads is that "light" and "low tar" cigarettes are as dangerous to health as regular cigarettes. Both ads were developed to educate smokers about light cigarettes and to motivate smokers to quit rather than smoke light cigarettes.

In the first ad, Vacuum Cleaner a man uses a vacuum cleaner to demonstrate how light cigarettes work. He discuses vents in the filter that let in air, so light cigarettes test as having lower tar and nicotine levels, but then explains that smokers' fingers cover up these vents. At the end of the spot, the man dumps out the vacuum cleaner bag to illustrate the pollutants inhaled by light cigarette smokers.

The second ad, Truck begins with a woman standing at the end of a long tunnel while two large trucks rush towards her. The voice-over presents the two trucks as representing light and regular cigarettes, respectively, and notes that you can't see a difference between the two. The tobacco industry confirmed that lights can deliver the same amount of tar and toxins as regular cigarettes.

It's never too late to quit smoking and reap the health benefits. For smokers concerned about their health, and need help quitting, help is a phone call away.

Call 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) or visit http://www.nysmokefree.com/ for information on how to quit, local stop smoking programs, nicotine patches and more.