A Review of Cigarette Marketing in Canada -- 3rd Edition -- Winter 2001 

The blue 'light' district

Health authorities in Europe, Brazil and Canada have indicated that the gig is up for 'light' cigarettes.  (see press release from Health Canada).  Before the regulatory process had even begun, tobacco companies had moved to prepare the market for a new way of communicating 'light'-ness.

In Brazil, Europe and now Canada a new marketing thesaurus has been developed, one based on colours.

  • Red = Regular
  • Blue = Light
  • Silver = Ultra-light 


In Brazil, BAT has changed its Carlton cigarettes to "Carlton Red," (9 mg tar)  "Carlton Blue" (6 mg tar)  and "Carlton Silver" (4 mg tar).

carlton-red.jpg (11848 bytes)carlton-blue.jpg (25894 bytes)carltonsilver.jpg (23474 bytes)
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In Canada, BAT/Imperial has launched a new "Player's Silver," with a machine reading of 8-27 mg tar. (Their press release describes this as an expression of "positive cooperation" with government measures).

click for full-size illustration



Philip Morris has chosen to similarly associate "full-flavour" with red and "light" with blue.  In Europe, its recent "country collection" of Marlboro cigarettes clearly identifies red with "full-flavour" Marlboro (12 mg), and blue with Marlboro Lights (8 mg).

Marlboro 'Lights," once sold in 'gold' livery are in blue dress for this 2001 edition.

Full-flavour Marlboros continue to be sold in distinctive red.



Benson and Hedges (regular) is sold in Gold Benson and Hedges (light) is sold in Silver



In 2001, RJR introduced silver-packaged S2, but the brand is promoted as 'smooth' rather than 'light'



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