Craven A

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Craven A
Craven a brand logo.png
Product typeCigarette
OwnerBritish American Tobacco
Produced byRothmans, Benson & Hedges
CountryUnited Kingdom
Introduced1921; 99 years ago (1921)
MarketsSee Markets
Previous ownersCarreras Tobacco Company, Rothmans International
Tagline"Will Not Affect Your Throat", "For Your Throat's Sake"

Craven A is a British brand of cigarette, currently manufactured by Rothmans, Benson & Hedges, a subsidiary of British American Tobacco.[1][2] The cigarette brand is named after the third Earl of Craven.[3]


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. Bernhard Baron, a director of Carreras, knew that to compete successfully his product had to be better than his competitors' and in 1921 Carreras launched Craven A, a brand that became a household name in over 120 countries with the slogan "Will Not Affect Your Throat". It was the first machine-made cork-tipped cigarette—the unfiltered version was unusual in that there was at one end a cork tip in place of the paper.[clarification needed][3]—and it used the name of the Earl of Craven; presumably its name did not refer to the normal meaning of the word 'craven' (cowardly).[4]

Rothmans, Benson & Hedges plant in Quebec City, Canada

Following the success of Craven A, several other companies launched cork-tipped cigarettes which enjoyed varying degrees of success. Few (if any) of these remain available as of 2019.

At the same time as Craven A was pioneering a new fashion in cigarette smoking, the competition was moving in on the coupon business. Carreras participated in this market with their Black Cat brand.

The brand enjoyed huge popularity during World War II by not only the British soldiers, but in general.[5] Craven A was one of several brands donated by tobacco manufacturers to soldiers' rations in the hope of developing ongoing brand loyalty.

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 Pakistan, chain-smoked fifty Craven A cigarettes a day, even while terminally ill with tuberculosis.[citation needed]


Belgian tin of Craven A

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, "Will Not Affect Your Throat".[6][7]

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.[5]

Many advertising posters were made to promote Craven 'A' cigarettes.[8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16] Full-page advertisements 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.[17]


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.[18][19]


Craven 'A' were or still are sold in the following countries: Canada, United States, Jamaica, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Austria, Italy, Cyprus, Ivory Coast, South Africa, Palestine, Vietnam, Malaysia, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Australia.[20][21][22][23]


The company sponsored the 1981 Craven Mild Cup Rugby League tournament in New South Wales, Australia. Craven 'A' sponsored a number of entertainment events in Canada, such as the "Just for Laughs" Canadian Comedy Tour in March 1999.[24]

In popular culture[edit]


Craven 'A' cigarettes appeared in the James Bond novel Dr. No. Shanghai beggars in J.G Ballard's novel Empire of the Sun are described as 'shaking their Craven A tins like reformed smokers.'


The name of this brand is taken anecdotally in the song Les Bêtises by Sabine Paturel and in "Le Chien" by Léo Ferré.[25][26] The name "Craven A" is also included in the song "Tendresse et amitié" by Robert Charlebois and the text is written by Réjean Ducharme.[27]

Jamaican artist Vybz Kartel mentions the brand in some of his songs such as "Di way we roll".[28]


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

In the 1978 film Death on the Nile, Simon Doyle is asked by Monsieur Poirot if his fiancée – the wealthy heiress Linnet Ridgeway – smokes, to which he responds "Just Craven 'A'".

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Overview of our portfolio". BAT website.
  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. ^ Corbeil, Busby (August 1967). Higher-Order Etymology in Product Branding: A Cross-Market Study (PhD). University of Iowa Archives: University of Iowa. p. 173. The British Craven A cigaret brand serves to illustrate this type of post-facto intersected marque denotational ambiguity; the dictionary definition of the adjective 'craven' standing in stark contrast to what one presumes is the positive connotations of the Earl of Craven for whom they were (officially) named.
  5. ^ a b "Packet of Craven 'A' cigarettes, London, England, 1920-1950". Science Museum Group.
  6. ^ "For Your Throat's Sake! Ten Beautiful Craven 'A' Cigarette Ads from the 1930s. - Flashbak". 5 September 2014.
  7. ^ "Stubbed out: the 21 most iconic cigarette packets of all time".
  8. ^ " TOBACCO ADVERT. Craven "A" Cigarettes - 1951 - old print - antique print - vintage print - Fashion art prints: Posters & Prints".
  9. ^ "UP in SMOKE (NO SMOKING!!!!!!!!!)". Pinterest.
  10. ^ "Vintage Advertising". Pinterest.
  11. ^ "Tobacco advertising and smoking". Pinterest.
  12. ^ "Τσιγάρα". Pinterest.
  13. ^ "Vintage Tobacco/ Cigarette Ads (Page 28) of Miscellaneous Years".
  14. ^ "Craven A (Cigarettes, Tobacco Smoking) 1930 — Cigarettes — vintage French original advert".
  15. ^ "Advert". Retro 40s.
  16. ^ "'For your throat's sake smoke' ?!?". 22 August 2011.
  17. ^ Taonga, New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage Te Manatu. "Advertisement for Craven".
  18. ^ Limited, Jamaica Observer. "Counterfeit Craven A cigarettes on the market -- Carreras". Jamaica Observer.
  19. ^ "Carreras Warns Of Counterfeit Craven 'A' Cigarettes - SunCity 104.9 FM".
  20. ^ "BrandCraven 'A' - Cigarettes Pedia".
  21. ^ "Craven".
  22. ^ "Brands".
  23. ^ "Brands".
  24. ^ "Craven A: Just for laughs". 1999.
  25. ^ "Les bêtises". Paroles2Chansons.
  26. ^ "Paroles Le Chien par Léo Ferre - (clip, musique, traduction)".
  27. ^ "Paroles Robert Charlebois Tendresse Et Amitié lyrics - musique en parole".
  28. ^ "Vybz Kartel – Di Way We Roll".