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Light & Low-Tar Tobacco Cigarettes, U.S. Wants to Snuff Out Federal Sanctions

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Tobacco makers would no longer be able to cite U.S. government approval for "light" or "low-tar" cigarettes under a rule change proposed by the Federal Trade Commission, USA Today reported.

The agency said it wants to end a 1966 policy that allows cigarette makers to mention tar and nicotine amounts "per FTC method," the newspaper reported Wednesday.

In seeking to "clarify the FTC's position," associate director Mary Engle said "this test method does not have our stamp of approval." The new proposal explains that in 1966, it was thought that the amount of tar in a cigarette could affect a smoker's risk of cancer," USA Today reported.

But the agency now says that people who smoke "light" cigarettes tend to take bigger puffs or inhale more frequently to gain the same effect as regular cigarettes. So the agency is prepared to recommend that consumers not use the amount of tar or nicotine in a cigarette as a measure of a safer smoke.

The public has until Aug. 12 to comment on the proposal.

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