Misperceptions of "light" cigarettes abound: National survey data

Wilson, Nick; Weerasekera, Deepa; Peace, Jo; Edwards, Richard; Thomson, George; Devlin, Miranda
January 2009
BMC Public Health;2009, Vol. 9, p1
Academic Journal
Background: Many smokers believe that "light" cigarettes are less harmful than regular cigarettes, which is at variance with the scientific evidence. The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) aims to address this problem in Article 11 which deals with misleading labelling of tobacco products. In this study we aimed to determine smokers' use and beliefs concerning "light" and "mild" cigarettes ("lights"), including in relation to ethnicity, deprivation and other socio-demographic characteristics. Methods: The New Zealand (NZ) arm of the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Survey (ITC Project) uses as its sampling frame the NZ Health Survey. This is a national sample with boosted sampling of Maori, Pacific peoples and Asians. From this sample we surveyed adult smokers (n = 1376) about use and beliefs relating to "light" cigarettes. We assessed the associations with smoking "lights" after adjusting for socio-demographic variables, and smoking-related behaviours and beliefs. Results: Many smokers of "lights" believed that smoking "lights" made it easier to quit smoking (25%), that "lights" are less harmful (42%), and that smokers of "lights" take in less tar (43%). Overall most "lights" smokers (60%) had at least one of these three beliefs, a proportion significantly higher than for smokers of "regular" cigarettes at 45% (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 1.96, 95% CI = 1.29 - 2.96). While "lights" smokers had significantly lower tobacco consumption and were more aware of smoking harms, they were no more likely to be intending to quit or have made a previous quit attempt. By ethnicity, both Maori and Pacific people were less likely to smoke "lights" than Europeans (aOR = 0.53, 95% CI = 0.35 - 0.80 and aOR = 0.14, 95% CI = 0.05 - 0.40 respectively). In contrast there was no significant difference by level of deprivation. Roll-your-own (RYO) tobacco smokers were less likely to smoke "light" forms of RYO tobacco while both older and women smokers were more likely to smoke "lights". Conclusion: Most "lights" smokers have one or more misperceptions about the product they use, and were no more likely to intend to quit or to have made a quit attempt. In response to such misperceptions, governments could act further to eliminate all misleading tobacco marketing. Ideally, they could not only adopt FCTC requirements, but go further by requiring plain packaging for all tobacco products.


Related Articles

  • Determinants of heavy smoking: Results from the global adult tobacco survey in Poland (2009-2010). Kaleta, Dorota; Makowiec-Dąbrowska, Teresa; Dziankowska-Zaborszczyk, Elżbieta; Fronczak, Adam // International Journal of Occupational Medicine & Environmental H;Mar2012, Vol. 25 Issue 1, p66 

    Objective: The aim of current analysis was to identify socio-demographic correlates of heavy smoking. Materials and Methods: Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS), a nationally representative household study was implemented in Poland between 2009 and 2010. We used data on representative sample of...

  • Sociodemographic correlates of male chewable smokeless tobacco users in India: A preliminary report of analysis of national family health survey, 2005-2006. Rooban, T.; Elizabeth, J.; Umadevi, K. R.; Ranganathan, K. // Indian Journal of Cancer;Jul-Sep2010 Supplement 1, Vol. 47, pS91 

    OBJECTIVE: To estimate the prevalence, the socioeconomic and demographic correlates of chewable smokeless tobacco consumption among males in India. DESIGN: A cross-sectional, nationally representative population-based household survey. SUBJECTS: 74,369 males aged 15-54 years who were sampled in...

  • Sociodemographic risk indicators of hookah smoking among White Americans: A pilot study. Jamil, Hikmet; Elsouhag, Dalia; Hiller, Spencer; Arnetz, Judith E.; Arnetz, Bengt B. // Nicotine & Tobacco Research;May2010, Vol. 12 Issue 5, p525 

    Background:: Despite the sustained public health efforts to decrease cigarette smoking, there is an increasing trend in the use of alternative tobacco products that are perceived by some as less harmful. One example is hookah smoking. This study aimed to assess hookah trends among White Americans.

  • Smoking patterns and sociodemographic factors associated with tobacco use among Chinese rural male residents: a descriptive analysis. Tingzhong Yang; Fuzhong Li; Xianzhao Yang; Zhenyi Wu; Xiangxian Feng; Yibo Wang; Xuhui Wang; Abdullah, Abu Saleh M. // BMC Public Health;2008, Vol. 8, p248 

    Background: Although evidence has shown high prevalence rates of tobacco use in the general urban populations in China, relatively little is known in its rural population. The purposes of this study were to examine smoking patterns and sociodemographic correlates of smoking in a sample of rural...

  • Characteristics associated with self-identification as a regular smoker and desire to quit among college students who smoke cigarettes. Harris, Jennifer B.; Schwartz, Stephen M.; Thompson, Beti // Nicotine & Tobacco Research;Jan2008, Vol. 10 Issue 1, p69 

    Tobacco use among college students increased substantially during the 1990s. Better understanding of college smokers is warranted to develop interventions specific to the needs of this population. We examined sociodemographic and tobacco-use characteristics associated with self-identification as...

  • The relationship of smoking cessation to sociodemographic characteristics, smoking intensity, and tobacco control policies. Levy, David T.; Romano, Eduardo; Mumford, Elizabeth // Nicotine & Tobacco Research;Jun2005, Vol. 7 Issue 3, p387 

    The present study examined the relationship between recent smoking cessation activities and sociodemographic characteristics, smoking intensity, and tobacco control policies among daily smokers in the United States. The study used the U.S. Current Population Survey 1998–1999 Tobacco Use...

  • Tobacco smoking in urban neighborhoods: Exploring social capital as a protective factor in Santiago, Chile. Sapag, Jaime C.; Poblete, Fernando C.; Eicher, Caitlin; Aracena, Marcela; Caneo, Constanza; Vera, Gloria; Martínez, Mayra; Hoyos, Rodrigo; Villarroel, Luis; Bradford, Elizabeth // Nicotine & Tobacco Research;Sep2010, Vol. 12 Issue 9, p927 

    Introduction: Research examining the relationship between social capital and health in Latin America has been limited. The aim of this study is to evaluate the association between social capital and tobacco use in four low-income neighborhoods in Santiago, Chile. Methods: A multistage...

  • Nondaily Smokers: Who Are They? Hassmiller, Kristen M.; Warner, Kenneth E.; Mendez, David; Levy, David T.; Romano, Eduardo // American Journal of Public Health;Aug2003, Vol. 93 Issue 8, p1321 

    Objective. We sought to understand who constitutes the sizable population of nondaily, or some-day (SD), smokers. Methods. We analyzed descriptive statistics and regression results using the 1998-1999 Current Population Survey Tobacco Use Supplement to determine the prevalence of SD smokers,...

  • Socio-demographic factors associated with smoking and smoking cessation among 426,344 pregnant women in New South Wales, Australia. Mohsin, Mohammed; Bauman, Adrian E. // BMC Public Health;2005, Vol. 5, p138 

    Background: This study explores the socio-demographic characteristics of pregnant women who continue to smoke during the pregnancy, and identifies the characteristics of the smokers who were likely to quit smoking during the pregnancy period. Methods: This was secondary analysis of the New South...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics