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- For the French bicycle manufacturer, see Gitane.
Gitanes (pronounced: [ʒi.tan], "gypsy women") is a brand of French cigarettes, sold in many varieties of strengths and packages. It is currently owned by Imperial Tobacco following their acquisition of Altadis in January 2008, having been owned by SEITA before that. Originally rolled with darker or brun (brown) tobacco, in contrast to 'blondes'. In honour of the name, the cover sports a silhouette of a Spanish gypsy woman playing the tambourine. The boxes have always featured the colours black, blue and white.
There is a distinction between the "blonde" style of current Gitanes, and the classic style of Gitanes Brunes, both of which are sold in Europe and South America, most commonly in Argentina and Chile. The classic Gitanes Brunes tobacco achieved its characteristic and distinctive "bite" by using a fire-flued method of curing the tobacco, and a "rice" type of rolling paper which differs from most cigarettes. The result was a cigarette that was both strong in flavor and had a distinctive aroma.
Gitanes Blondes are available, filtered, in Light and Regular. The Gitanes Brunes are available in 70mm versions, filtered and un-filtered.
Production in France recently halted, with one factory remaining operational in the Netherlands. This is mainly due to the rise on tobacco levies imposed by the French government in the wake of health advice, which has forced the price of French cigarettes up to the level of those from the USA, with the more aggressively promoted brands such as Marlboro now taking the majority market share.
During 2010 the size and content of regular Gitanes was reduced.
Gitanes Maïs (corn) are made with yellow corn paper.
- 1910: First appearance of Gitanes, without a filter, in four versions.
- 1918: First appearance of Gitanes Maïs, which are a success in rural areas.
- 1956: Appearance of the first Gitane filter.
- 1981: "Light" versions are first marketed.
- 1986: First Blondes launched, and are a failure.
- 1988: First appearance of extra light versions
- 1991: Gitanes ultra light are introduced.
- 1990/91: simultaneous launch of a new version of Blondes with ultra light.
- 1999: Merger of SEITA and Spanish Tabacalera gives birth to Altadis, current producer of Gitanes
Also Takumi in the Japanese manga NANA smokes them.
- "Gauloises and Gitanes exit France". BBC News. 1 September 2005.
- Mary Blume (February 17, 1996). "Le Marketing:Face-Lift fora Cigarette". The New York Times.