Woodbine (cigarette)

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A Woodbine vending machine, now in the Staffordshire County Museum at Shugborough Hall, England.

Woodbine is a brand of cigarette made in England by W. D. & H. O. Wills (now Imperial Tobacco) from 1888 to date.


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.

In popular culture[edit]

  • Woodbines are mentioned several times in the play Dancing at Lughnasa.
  • In the film Telstar: The Joe Meek Story, the drummer of The Tornados stashes his Woodbines in the kick drum.
  • Bert Baxter, a character in the famous Adrian Mole series, often smokes a Woodbine cigarette.
  • Jennifer Paterson, celebrity chef of the "Two Fat Ladies", is seen smoking Woodbine in several episodes of the show.[citation needed]
  • Frank McCourt mentions Woodbine cigarettes as his mother's favourite in his autobiography Angela's Ashes.
  • Van Morrison mentions buying five Woodbines at the shop on the corner on his lunch break in his song "Cleaning Windows".
  • Singer/Songwriter Lucinda Williams sings of "choking on woodbine" in the song "Factory Girls" on Flogging Molly's 2004 album Within a Mile of Home.
  • In James Herriot's books, his veterinary partner, Siegfried Farnon's (Donald Sinclair's) brother, Tristan (Brian Sinclair), smokes Woodbines.
  • 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?”[1]
  • Woodbines are mentioned in the novel, ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL, James Herriot
  • Woodbines are mentioned in The Greasy Chip Butty Song sung by fans of Sheffield United
  • Woodbines are mentioned in Ice, a novel by a Polish writer Jacek Dukaj.
  • Woodbines are mentioned often as being smoked by the main recurring characters in Robert Rankin stories.
  • Woodbines are mentioned several times by the characters in the photo-novel I Could Read the Sky, by Timothy O'Grady and Steve Pyke.

References[edit]