It is now illegal to advertise tobacco in many countries and the adverts have stopped. In the 1990s Silk Cut was the best selling brand in the UK, but sales have declined behind cheaper budget brands as tax on tobacco has increased. In an attempt to counteract this, the manufacturers responded in the new millennium by introducing bevelled corners to redesigned regular gauge packaging, and marketing their first ‘slim’ cigarette in the UK, even though this wasn’t the first ‘slim’ cigarette available in the UK as More, Karelia and Vogue are available in most tobacconists. Capri were available in the UK until the mid 1990s.

Silk Cut is also available in a lower tar version and an ultra low tar version with a tar content of only 0.1 mg. When terms such as ‘light’ and ‘low tar’ were made illegal to use in the UK for use of tobacco promotion (for fear that it deluded smokers into thinking such products were safer), some commentators predicted that Silk Cut’s name and good brand recognition as a low tar product would favourably affect sales of the brand to health conscious consumers. Silk Cut Blue cigarettes contain 0.3 mg Nicotine and Tar content is 3 mg. Silk Cut Silver cigarettes contain 0.1 mg Nicotine and Tar content is 1 mg. Silk Cut White cigarettes contain 0.01 mg Nicotine and Tar content is 0.5 mg. Silk Cut cigarettes are also available in a ‘100s’ range (superking size) and in a menthol variety.

It is a misconception that the tobacco in Silk Cuts contains less nicotine than other cigarette tobacco citation needed . The lower nicotine levels are caused by the design of the filter, which has many more holes than regular strength cigarette filters, to mix the smoke with air.

Silk Cut Surreal Advertising Campaign edit

Silk Cut was made popular by an surrealistic advertising campaign launched in 1983, in preparation for a ban on named tobacco advertising. 1

By using the typical colours of the brand, the first surrealistic advertisement of Silk Cut showed a purple silk cloth with a single cut running through it, showing behind it a white background.

Smokers are reporting plain packaged cigarettes taste worse than branded – abc perth – australian broadcasting corporation

Terrorists may get money from regional, cheap cigarette smuggling ring: ray kelly – ny daily news

Professor of Public Health at the University of Sydney, Simon Chapman, says he’s not surprised by the reports.

“We know from internal tobacco industry documents that were made available about 10 years ago after legal action in the US that the companies knew that there is nothing between the brands and that the differentiation is all in the coloured boxes,” he said.

“I think the industry knew that all along, and they knew that a very big rug was about to be pulled out from under them, and that looks like precisely what has happened.”

“From a public health perspective, we couldn’t care less whether smokers are moving from one brand to another, but if people are quitting, which was the whole intent of the plain packaging legislation, then that is a fantastic result.”

While the tobacco companies say they haven’t changed the contents of cigarettes, Professor Chapman says there is nothing to stop them doing that.

“Companies can put whatever they want into cigarettes, including increasing the nicotine, and they don’t have to apply to anybody to do that.”

“Nicotine is out there on its own, unlike pharmaceuticals, food or drink, which has to be approved by regulatory authorities. There is no boundary as to what they can put in.”

Professor Chapman says the major goal of the plain packaging legislation was to discourage young people from taking up smoking, but the bad taste effect has been an unexpected bonus.

Whether the measures are effective on young people will be seen over the next few years.

Research is also taking place into cigarette pricing.

“There’s a large amount of research going on into what the industry is doing in terms of price manipulation,” Prof Chapman says.

“They pay good money to get the brands up at the top of the price boards so people can see them more easily.”

A study of 4,500 Victorian smokers by the Cancer Council has also found that one in four smokers still believe the health effects of smoking have been exaggerated.

The study also found the vast majority of smokers could not link tobacco use with an increased risk of throat cancer and mouth cancer.

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