Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 92, Issue 6, pp 407–411 | Cite as

‘Light’ and ‘Mild’ Cigarettes: Who Smokes Them? Are They Being Misled?

  • Mary Jane AshleyEmail author
  • Joanna Cohen
  • Roberta Ferrence


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.


Nous avons mené deux enquêtes représentatives auprès d’Ontariens pour étudier la proportion relative des fumeurs de cigarettes « légères » et « douces » (L/D). Nous avons comparé les fumeurs de cigarettes L/D aux fumeurs de cigarettes ordinaires du point de vue de leur profil démographique, de leurs connaissances en matière de santé et de leur profil de tabagisme, puis examiné leurs perceptions des risques pour la santé des cigarettes L/D et les raisons pour lesquelles ils choisissent ces cigarettes. La consommation des cigarettes L/D est passée de 71 % en 1996 à 83 % en 2000. Les fumeurs de cigarettes L/D étaient plus souvent des femmes; ils étaient aussi proportionnellement moins dépendants de la cigarette et plus près de renoncer au tabac. En 1996, un fumeur sur cinq croyait que le fait de fumer des cigarettes L/D réduirait ses risques de cancer et de cardiopathie. En 1996 et en 2000, respectivement 44 % et 27 % fumaient des cigarettes L/D pour ménager leur santé, 41 % et 40 % le faisaient pour se préparer à renoncer au tabac, et 41 % (les deux années) ont déclaré qu’ils seraient plus susceptibles d’y renoncer s’ils apprenaient qu’avec les cigarettes L/D, ils inhalaient autant de goudron et de nicotine qu’avec des cigarettes ordinaires. Ces données empiriques confirment l’utilité d’interdire les mentions « légères » et « douces » sur les emballages de cigarettes.


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary Jane Ashley
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Joanna Cohen
    • 2
    • 2
  • Roberta Ferrence
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Ontario Tobacco Research Unit, Centre for Health PromotionUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of Public Health SciencesUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Centre for Addiction and Mental HealthTorontoCanada

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