The Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday rescinded guidance it issued 42 years ago that has allowed tobacco companies to make claims about tar and nicotine levels based on testing by a machine.
In its advertising, the cigarette industry uses a test known at the Cambridge Filter Method to support any factual statements of tar and nicotine content in cigarette smoke. But the commission said the test method is flawed. It also said that the resulting advertisements touting tar and nicotine levels could cause consumers to believe that lighter cigarettes were safer.
The commission said it would not allow tobacco companies to use the FTC's "stamp of approval."
"Our action today ensures that tobacco companies may not wrap their misleading tar and nicotine ratings in a cloak of government sponsorship," said Commissioner Jon Leibowitz.