Noted for its strong unfiltered cigarettes, the brand was popular in the early 20th century, especially with soldiers during World War I and World War II. In common parlance, the unfiltered high-tar Woodbine was one of the brands collectively known as "gaspers" until about 1950, because new smokers found their strong smoke difficult to inhale. A filtered version was launched in the United Kingdom in 1948, but was discontinued in 1988.
Legendary chef Marco Pierre White in his autobiography 'The Devil in the Kitchen: Sex, Pain, Madness and the making of a Great Chef' is quoted saying,“Oh, that’s lovely wrist action you’ve got there. Fancy coming into the larder with me and earning yourself five woodbines?”
Woodbines are mentioned in the novel, ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL, James Herriot