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Embassy is a British brand of cigarettes, currently owned and manufactured by Imperial Tobacco.

Embassy cigarettes tin, WD & HO Wills.JPG
An old tin box of Embassy cigarettes.
Product typeCigarette
OwnerImperial Tobacco
Produced byImperial Tobacco
CountryUnited Kingdom
Introduced1914; 105 years ago (1914)
MarketsSee Markets
Tagline"Inhale to your heart's content!"


Embassy was launched in 1914 by W.D. & H.O. Wills and was relaunched as a coupon brand in 1962. When the Embassy brand was created, as a rebranding of Strand, more effort was put into developing and launching it than any other previous cigarette brand.[1]

Embassy Filter was introduced in 1962 and was Britain's top-selling brand from 1964 until 1970, when it was overtaken by Player's No. 6. It had a 24% of the market in 1968.[2]

In 2001, Embassy No. 1 had a 3.1% share of the UK licit cigarette market, and an estimated 4.8% share of the illicit market (based on seizures).[3] In 2004, Embassy accounted for 24% of the premium segment of the UK market.[4]

Two-time snooker world champion Alex Higgins sued the makers of Embassy in 1999, claiming that the encouragement from the sponsors to smoke Embassy cigarettes, and the free cigarettes given to players, had contributed to his contracting throat cancer.[5]

Embassy is currently one of the most expensive cigarette brands in the UK with the price of a packet of 20 cigarettes being £11.98 RRP. Embassy also has a sister brand, named Embassy Regal.

In 2019, the Embassy Number 1 Red changed blend, the price has reduced, and the taste has changed. The Embassy Regal has remained the same.

In April 2014, the last factory that still produced cigarettes in Nottingham, United Kingdom which also produced the Embassy cigarettes, was closed and production was moved to a foreign country such as Germany or Poland.[6]

In December 2014, Imperial Tobacco celebrated the 100 year existence of the Embassy brand. Rebecca Cottee, brand manager – factory manufactured cigarettes, at Imperial Tobacco said: "As one of our most iconic brands Embassy is and continues to be an intrinsic part of Imperial Tobacco’s heritage. For a brand like Embassy to survive for 100 years is a great achievement, particularly as the category has seen so many newcomers over the last 50 years. Premium priced cigarettes continue to be strong sellers within the category. It’s vital that independent retailers ensure constant availability of leading brands, such as Embassy, as many tobacco shoppers will leave a store and go elsewhere without making any purchase if their preferred brand is not available.".[7]

Various promotional material was made to sponsor Embassy cigarettes, such as magazine advertisements. A slogan used was "Inhale to your heart's content!"[8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15]


Formula 1Edit

The Shadow DN1 entered and raced by Graham Hill being demonstrated at the 2008 Goodwood Festival of Speed.

In 1973, Embassy became the title sponsor of the new Embassy Racing With Graham Hill (commonly known as Embassy Hill) Formula One motor racing team, founded by two-time World Champion Graham Hill. Hill was also the team's lead driver for its first two years, but Embassy Hill did not enjoy success, securing only three points-scoring finishes in three years of racing. In 1975, Hill, his driver Tony Brise and four other members of the team died in an aircraft accident. The team was closed afterwards.

Embassy sponsored a private-entry Shadow Racing car for Graham Hill who ran his car under the Embassy Hill banner in 1973.


In 1976, Embassy was the primary sponsor of the World Snooker Championships from 1976 to 2005 as well as the World Professional Darts Championship from 1978 until 2003, when the UK government banned all tobacco sponsorship in sport.[16][17][18][19]

Beauty pageantsEdit

Embassy also sponsored the Miss Ghana beauty pageant.[20]


Embassy is mainly sold in the United Kingdom, but also was or still is sold in Ireland, Germany, Spain, Tanzania, Malawi, Kenya, South Africa, Mauritius, Pakistan, Malaysia, Canada, United States, Trinidad and Argentina.[21][22][23]


Current UK BrandsEdit

  • Embassy Mild/Blue
  • Embassy Filter
  • Embassy Number 1

Discontinued UK BrandsEdit

  • Belair Menthol
  • Embassy Envoy
  • Embassy Gold
  • Embassy Number 3
  • Embassy Number 5
  • Embassy Number 3 Extra Mild
  • Embassy Number 5 Extra Mild
  • Embassy Extra Mild
  • Embassy Number 1 Extra Mild
  • Embassy Premier with NSM (New Smoking Mixture)


  1. ^ B. W. E. Alford (2006) WD & HO Wills and the Development of the UK Tobacco Industry, 1786-1965, Taylor & Francis, ISBN 978-0-415-37799-7
  2. ^ "Smoking and the 70s", RetroWow
  3. ^ "Select Committee on Public Accounts Minutes of Evidence: APPENDIX 3 - Supplementary memorandum submitted by HM Customs and Excise", House of Commons - Public Accounts - Minutes of Evidence
  4. ^ Emily Paersch "Finding the right balance, Tobacco Journal
  5. ^ Gentleman, Amelia (1999) "Snooker star sues tobacco firms", The Guardian, 27 July 1999
  6. ^ Ficenec, Nathalie Thomas and John (15 April 2014). "Imperial Tobacco calls time on last UK factory" – via
  7. ^ "Imperial Tobacco celebrates 100 years of Embassy". 5 December 2014.
  8. ^ "1949 Embassy Cigarettes Ad - eBay". eBay.
  9. ^ "Magazine Ad for Embassy Number 1 Cigarettes, British, Best In King Size Smoking, 1979 - Magazines Ads and Books Store".
  10. ^ "Vintage Tobacco/ Cigarette Ads of the 1950s (Page 32)".
  11. ^ "Embassy Cigarettes - Age of Innocence".
  12. ^ "Cigarettes Embassy". Cigarettes.
  13. ^ Limited, Alamy. "Stock Photo - 1970 advertisement for Embassy Gold Cigarettes with vouchers and with no Government Health Warning FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY". Alamy.
  14. ^ Limited, Alamy. "Stock Photo - 1983 Advertisement for Embassy Number 1 Cigarettes FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY". Alamy.
  15. ^ "Embassy Premier cigarettes-1977 magazine advert - eBay". eBay.
  16. ^ "History Archived 2010-05-14 at the Wayback Machine", Imperial Tobacco
  17. ^ "Snooker hunts replacement for Embassy", Marketing Week, 14 April 2005
  18. ^ Harrison, Shirley (2000) Public Relations: An Introduction, 2nd edition, Cengage Learning EMEA, ISBN 978-1-86152-547-5, p.152
  19. ^ "BDO World Championship Men 1978 -". Mastercaller.
  20. ^ Cunningham, Rob (15 January 1996). "Smoke & Mirrors: The Canadian Tobacco War". IDRC – via Google Books.
  21. ^ "BrandEmbassy - Cigarettes Pedia".
  22. ^ "Embassy".
  23. ^ "Brands".

External linksEdit