Purported risk or harm reduction through product design change of cigarettes has occurred in three phases in the U.S. The first phase from the 1940s to the early 1960s included a gradual rise in filtered cigarettes. The second phase, which began in the early 1960s in response to the landmark 1964 U.S. Surgeon Generals report that linked smoking with lung cancer and other diseases, included the introduction of purportedly low tar and nicotine cigarettes. Subsequent research found that both filters and low tar and nicotine cigarettes were ineffective approaches to reducing health risks associated with smoking. Despite this, these product design changes were used in tobacco industry marketing campaigns to allay consumer health concerns and stabilize tobacco markets and sales. Since 2004, a new risk or harm reduction phase has occurred with the backing by Philip Morris as well as major U.S. health groups of U.S. Food and Drug Administration legislation that would require disclosure of tobacco ingredients, ban misleading health claims, prohibit or reduce harmful ingredients, and require prior approval of tobacco design, performance changes, and modified risk tobacco products. However, current scientific literature indicates that there is no scientific consensus and little evidence on what tobacco ingredients are linked to particular morbidities and mortalities and at what levels. This will allow the tobacco industry to implicitly or explicitly claim their products are “safer.” Instead, health advocates should advocate for scientifically proven policy measures such as smoke free public places or higher tobacco taxes that control and reduce tobacco markets and consumption.