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Craven A is a British brand of cigarettes, currently owned and manufactured by Rothmans, Benson & Hedges, a subsidiary of Altria in North America and British American Tobacco outside of North America.[1][2] The cigarette brand is named after the third Earl of Craven.[3]

Craven A
Craven A, Verginia Cigarettes.JPG
An old Belgian tin box of Craven A cigarettes
Product typeCigarette
OwnerRothmans, Benson & Hedges, a subsidiary of Altria, British American Tobacco
Produced byRothmans, Benson & Hedges, a subsidiary of Altria, British American Tobacco
CountryUnited Kingdom
Introduced1921; 98 years ago (1921)
MarketsSee Markets
Previous ownersCarreras Tobacco Company, Rothmans International
Tagline"Will Not Affect Your Throat", "For Your Throat’s Sake"



After the end of World War I, the cigarette market resumed its normal competitive spirit with the Carreras Tobacco Company once more well to the fore. Baron knew that in order to compete successfully his product had to be better than his competitors' and in 1921 the House of Carreras recorded a first in the industry by launching Craven A, a brand destined to become a household name in over 120 countries worldwide with the now known slogan "Will Not Affect Your Throat". This was the first ever machine-made cork-tipped cigarette, using the name of the Earl of Craven. The 'plain' version of the cigarette was unusual in that, there was at one end a cork tip in place of the paper.[3]

Craven A became such a huge success in the United Kingdom that various cork-tipped brands were launched to compete against it by Imperial Tobacco Company and other tobacco houses. But the competition fell by the wayside and Craven A is still marketed around the world.

At the same time as Craven A was pioneering a new fashion in cigarette smoking, the competition was moving in on the coupon business. But once again, Carreras stayed in front with their well-known coupon brand Black Cat.

The brand enjoyed huge popularity during World War II by not only the British soldiers, but in general.[4] Part of the reason for this is that cigarettes were donated to the war effort by the tobacco industry and they were included in soldiers’ rations. By the time the war was over, many veterans were not only addicted, they were also loyal to a particular brand. When unsettling reports began to surface that smoking could cause lung cancer and other diseases, people began to wonder whether having a smoke was such a good thing after all.[5]

Rothmans, Benson & Hedges plant in Quebec City, Canada.

Also during the Second World War, General Charles de Gaulle, in exile in London, had a hard time getting his usual French brown cigarettes brand Gitanes. Not really having a choice, he started smoking Craven A and apparently took a liking to the blond tobacco, which until then had been rare in occupied France.

Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of modern-day Pakistan, was a famous chain-smoker of fifty Craven A cigarettes a day, which eventually led to him being diagnosed with tuberculosis.[6]


Craven 'A' began marketing its advertising campaign under the slogan "For Your Throat’s Sake" as early as 1939 – if not before. It had a famous slogan, which was, even in the years after the First World War must have been seen as a blatant lie: "Will Not Affect Your Throat".[5][7][8]

Craven 'A' cork tipped cigarettes were advertised as "made from the finest imported matured Virginia tobacco guaranteed pure and absolutely free from adulteration". Adverts for the cigarettes claimed that the cork tips prevented sore throats. Made by Carreras Tobacco Company and later Rothmans International, the company's products were recognisable from the black cat trademark.[4]

Many advertising posters have been made over the years to promote Craven 'A' cigarettes.[9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17] Some full-page ads also appeared in the New Zealand magazine the "Mirror" in 1930. Like many ads in the years between the two world wars, this one specifically targeted women, who were the growing market. It tried to associate smoking with sophisticated urban taste.[18]


In May 2014, Carreras Limited warned that counterfeit Craven A cigarettes which were being sold in Jamaica. The counterfeits were said to be non-compliant with Jamaican Public Health labelling regulations. According to Carreras, customers could identify original products by the graphic pictorial health warnings on 60 per cent of the top front and back panels of the pack, as well as other labelling stipulated in the regulations. Counterfeit and illicit cigarette packs displayed the previous 30% textual health warnings, making them easier to identify.

The company threatened to take legal action against people caught selling or in possession of the counterfeit cigarettes.[19][20]



The company sponsored the 1981 Craven Mild Cup tournament. Craven 'A' sponsored a number of entertainment events in Canada, such as the "Just for Laughs" Canadian Comedy Tour in March 1999.[25]

In popular cultureEdit


Craven 'A' cigarettes appeared in the James Bond novel Dr. No.


The name of this brand is taken anecdotally in the song Les Bêtises by Sabine Paturel and in "Le Chien" by Léo Ferré.[26][27] The name "Craven A" is also included in the song "Tendresse et amitié" by Robert Charlebois and the text is written by Réjean Ducharme.[28]

Jamaican artist Vybz Kartel mentions the brand in some of his songs such as "Di way we roll".[29][6]


Note that, according to his biographer, Jean Gabin was a regular smoker of the filterless Craven and he alternated with his Gitanes. In the movie Pasha, a package of Craven is visible on the desk of "Commissioner Louis Joss", Gabin, as well as in Le cave se rebiffe.

In the film Death on the Nile, Simon Doyle (played by Simon MacCorkindale), is asked by Monsieur Poirot if his fiancé - the wealthy heiress Linnet Ridgeway - smokes, to which he responds "Just Craven 'A'".

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "British American Tobacco - Our brands".
  2. ^ Ian Cobain and David Leigh (17 October 2005). "Tobacco firm has secret North Korea plant". Guardian. UK. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
  3. ^ a b "Containers, tin, Cigarettes 'Craven A' - Victorian Collections".[dead link]
  4. ^ a b "Packet of Craven 'A' cigarettes, London, England, 1920-1950".
  5. ^ a b "10 Evil Vintage Cigarette Ads Promising Better Health".
  6. ^ a b "History and information about Cravel A tobacco cigarette".
  7. ^ "For Your Throat's Sake! Ten Beautiful Craven 'A' Cigarette Ads from the 1930s. - Flashbak". 5 September 2014.
  8. ^ "Stubbed out: the 21 most iconic cigarette packets of all time".
  9. ^ " TOBACCO ADVERT. Craven "A" Cigarettes - 1951 - old print - antique print - vintage print - Fashion art prints: Posters & Prints".
  10. ^ "UP in SMOKE (NO SMOKING!!!!!!!!!)". Pinterest.
  11. ^ "Vintage Advertising". Pinterest.
  12. ^ "Tobacco advertising and smoking". Pinterest.
  13. ^ "Τσιγάρα". Pinterest.
  14. ^ "Vintage Tobacco/ Cigarette Ads (Page 28) of Miscellaneous Years".
  15. ^ "Craven A (Cigarettes, Tobacco Smoking) 1930 — Cigarettes — vintage French original advert".
  16. ^ "Advert". Retro 40s.
  17. ^ "'For your throat's sake smoke' ?!?". 22 August 2011.
  18. ^ Taonga, New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage Te Manatu. "Advertisement for Craven".
  19. ^ Limited, Jamaica Observer. "Counterfeit Craven A cigarettes on the market -- Carreras". Jamaica Observer.
  20. ^ "Carreras Warns Of Counterfeit Craven 'A' Cigarettes - SunCity 104.9 FM".
  21. ^ "BrandCraven 'A' - Cigarettes Pedia".
  22. ^ "Craven".
  23. ^ "Brands".
  24. ^ "Brands".
  25. ^ "Craven A: Just for laughs". 1999.
  26. ^ "Les bêtises". Paroles2Chansons.
  27. ^ "Paroles Le Chien par Léo Ferre - (clip, musique, traduction)".
  28. ^ "Paroles Robert Charlebois Tendresse Et Amitié lyrics - musique en parole".
  29. ^ "Vybz Kartel – Di Way We Roll".