Philip Morris to Insert Warnings

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Philip Morris to Insert Warnings

NEW YORK -- Philip Morris Cos. Inc. said yesterday it would start placing inserts in the packs of all of its medium and light cigarette brands warning people of the dangers of smoking. It also said it has asked the government to issue new rules for the disclosure of the tar and nicotine content of the so-called low-yield cigarettes.

Philip Morris, whose brands include category leader Marlboro, Benson & Hedges and Virginia Slims, said the inserts include statements that "light" and "ultra light" cigarettes are not proven to be safer than smoking full-flavored ones, and do not making quitting smoking easier, according to Reuters.

The inserts will be placed between the cellophane and box in about 130 million cigarette packs sold in the United States between now and the end of the year, the report said. The message says that the tar and nicotine levels included in all cigarette ads aren't necessarily good indicators of how much of those substances smokers actually inhale. The company also tells smokers: "You should not assume" that so-called low-tar cigarettes are "less harmful than 'full flavor' cigarette brands or that smoking such cigarette brands will help you quit smoking."

For a limited time, the pamphlet will be put on every pack of "light," "ultra light," "mild" or "medium" cigarettes Philip Morris makes for sale in the U.S., and should reach about 86 percent of the smokers who buy those styles of its cigarettes, the company says.

Philip Morris also said that it has called upon the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to devise new rules to measure the tar and nicotine content of cigarettes. It said its request follows criticism of the FTC's standardized method for testing cigarettes, known as the Cambridge Method, which uses machines that puff cigarettes to measure their tar and nicotine content.

Philip Morris also said last week that it plans to introduce a "reduced-risk" cigarette, CEO Michael Szymanczyk told investors at a conference. A company spokesman declined to give more details about the new product.