'Light' and 'mild' cigarettes: Who smokes them? Are they being misled?

Mary Jane Ashley, Joanna Cohen, Roberta Ferrence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using two population-based surveys of Ontarians, we examined the proportions of smokers who smoke 'light' and 'mild' cigarettes (L/M). We compared L/M smokers to regular cigarette smokers regarding demographic, health knowledge, and smoking characteristics and examined their health-related perceptions of L/M and reasons for smoking them. Use of these cigarettes increased from 71% in 1996 to 83% in 2000. Those who smoked L/M were more likely to be female, to be less addicted, and to be more advanced toward quitting. In 1996, one in five believed that smoking L/M lowers the risk of cancer and heart disease. In 1996 and 2000, respectively, 44% and 27% smoked L/M to reduce health risks, 41% and 40% smoked them as a step toward quitting, and 41% in both years said they would be more likely to quit if they learned L/M could provide the same tar and nicotine as regular cigarettes. These data provide empirical support for banning 'light' and 'mild' on cigarette packaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)407-411
Number of pages5
JournalCanadian Journal of Public Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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