CNN Frets About Cigarette Companies' Color Coding 'Tricks'

October 15th, 2009 12:14 PM

You have to wonder about CNN's priorities. The network that has promoted the legalization of "our friend marijuana," and on Oct. 14 praised the British government's decision to offer free shooting galleries to heroin addicts, was the next day demonizing American cigarette companies for "color coding cigarettes to ‘trick' you."

 "American Morning's" Kiran Chetry introduced the cigarette segment by fretting that, even though "the misleading, deceptive" tobacco companies have fully complied with the latest law that bans cigarette companies from advertising products as "low tar" and light," they "are still allowed to market their brands with colors." Chetry waved a pack of cigarettes in the air. "And some are saying that these [colors] actually are sending signals to a smoker about what kind of product they're going to get ... Is this a question of genius marketing? Are they duping people?"

On that cue, Chetry's co-host, John Roberts, replied, "Here's the signal I got" as he began ripping in half cigarettes and tossing them. The segment focused on a study that, according to reporter Jason Carroll, proves the government, "may need to go even further if consumers are to be protected."

CNN's fear was that, having eliminated the labels "light" and "low tar," smokers will still be able to identify those options by the color of the packs. Tobacco companies will thus be able to continue to sell "smokers on the idea one type of cigarette might be healthier."

Their solution? "In the UK, for example," said Caroll, "you have one uniform color, for the most part, and it's white. And it says clearly on the packaging, ‘Smoking Kills.' So I think that's what a lot of folks would like to see happen. Not the cigarette companies."

So, if CNN has its way, smokers will not only have to pay $1.01 federal tax per pack of cigarettes (plus whatever the state tax is) but maybe won't even have a choice of which cigarette they want to smoke.

Smokers choose to smoke, despite the constant barrage of admonitions and information about the harmful effects. But CNN still feels the government should "protect" smokers  from being "duped."