Tough New Cigarette Rules Go Into Effect

Opponents of smoking hailed tough new rules for cigarettes that went into effect Tuesday.

"The most stringent restrictions on marketing to children that this nation has ever seen," said Matthew Myers the president of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.

Have already ended flavored smokes like midnight berry or mandarin mint, the Food and Drug Administration will now enforce the end of misleading labels with words such as "light," "ultra-light" or "low tar," reports CBS News correspondent Dean Reynolds.

"Smokers have been lulled into thinking they were doing something that was not harmful to them," said Robin Mermelstein with the University of Illinois.

Veteran researcher Mermelstein says studies show that for smokers, light cigarettes cause heavy damage.

"They think they've had a healthier option and in fact they end up being exposed to more of the harmful components of cigarettes," Mermelstein said.

Smokeless tobacco will have to display new larger health warnings, too. Starting next week, with few exceptions, it will be against the law to ship tobacco products through the U.S. Postal service - stopping a big tax-free supply of cigarettes for children who buy them online.

New Law Nixes Tobacco Shipments by Mail
Cigarette Packs Get Colorful for "Light" Ban

But smoking still appeals. Twenty percent of Americans older than 18 do it.

The tobacco industry is nothing if not flexible. Benson and Hedges simply switched from light to a new word - "DeLuxe" - while others erased the label but retained the color-coded pack.

"We made the business decision we were going to go with colors," said David Howard with RJ Reynolds. "We felt that was effective."

And business is why Marlboro says the label is different, but "your cigarette stays the same … ask for Marlboro in the gold pack."

Something the New York City Health Department strongly advises against.

"Don't be fooled. All cigarettes contain the same poisons that make you sick and kill you," says a NYC Health Department advertisement.

And that's not just blowing smoke.

  • Dean Reynolds

    Dean Reynolds is a CBS News National Correspondent based in Chicago.