Fatima (cigarette)

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Fatima Turkish Blend Cigarettes (Full Flavour).jpg
An old American pack of Fatima cigarettes
Product typeCigarette
OwnerLiggett Group
Produced byLiggett Group
CountryUnited States
MarketsUnited States[1][2]

Fatima Cigarettes (pronounced fa-TEE-ma) was an American brand of cigarettes, owned and manufactured by the Liggett & Myers tobacco company.


Fatima was launched in the 1870s, and was marketed as an exotic blend of Turkish tobaccos.[3] It was one of the first brands to be made on a cigarette machine. The name Fatima, a common Turkish or Arabic woman's name, helped bolster the Turkish image.

In the early 1900s, manufactures of Turkish and Egyptian cigarettes tripled their sales and became legitimate competitors to leading brands. Fatima cigarettes was one of many cigarettes developed at this time which received wide success. The pack art featured a veiled woman, the Turkish crescent moon with stars, and the iron cross, the symbol of the Ottoman empire.[4] It was the best-selling cigarette brand in the U.S. from 1910 to 1920.[5]

About 1911 it became the first cigarette brand to be sold in 20-unit packs (15 cents).[6]

Two developments pushed Fatima to the sidelines toward the end of the decade. First, the Turkish fad fell victim to politics as the alliances of World War I made the East seem less mysterious than treacherous to Americans. Second, Camel cigarettes came on the market in 1913. N.W. Ayer & Son handled the introduction of Camel, which was a runaway success, and by 1925, Camel had won 40% of the market and R.J. Reynolds led the industry.[5]

In the 1940s, with the introduction of newer flagship brand Chesterfield, Fatima became a king size brand; the cigarettes were 10 millimeters longer

Before 1950, the package design included a stylized image of a veiled Middle Eastern woman.

Over time, the brand's old-fashioned image caused it to lose market share from the mid-1950s onward[citation needed] and L&M eventually phased it out by around 1980.[3]


Fatima print advertisement c. 1951 featuring Jack Webb of Dragnet. The redesigned package removed the veiled woman image.

Many poster and billboard adverts were made to promote Fatima cigarettes,[7][8][9][10][11][12][13] including a special Christmas ad.[14]

Some other advertisement products were also made, such as a flip book,[15] but also various sets of cigarette cards. In 1910, a set of flags from various American Universities were released,[16] and in 1913 a set of American baseball team cards were included in a pack of Fatima cigarettes.[17][18][19]

From 1917 to 1919, the Frank Seaman Agency created Fatima advertising aimed at an educated, prosperous consumer who read publications as Town and Country. Ads, tagged "Distinctively individual", claimed that Fatima cigarettes were always appropriate after an elegant meal or a fashionable evening on the town, and they were available for 15¢ for a package of 20. Like its rivals, Liggett offered premiums to purchasers of Fatima, a strategy intended to attract smokers of all classes rather than just the sophisticates represented in its print ads.[5]

Advertising for Fatima was discontinued during the Great Depression. The cigarette received a modern makeover after World War II, becoming a King Size cigarette to compete with other popular brands of the era.[4]


Radio shows[edit]

In the late 1940s L&M converted the brand to a king-sized version and began an extensive radio advertising campaign. Fatima was the sole sponsor of the early years of the Dragnet radio series. The creator and star of Dragnet, Jack Webb, voiced a number of on-air pitches for the brand and appeared in print advertising as well.[20]

There was also a short-lived mystery anthology series called Tales of Fatima, hosted by Basil Rathbone. In Tales of Fatima, Rathbone portrayed himself in adventurous situations played for broad comedy, quite a departure for the actor from the stalwart Holmes. References to the sponsor, Fatima cigarettes, were embedded in the storylines, and Rathbone also delivered the commercials. In further tie-ins, Rathbone also endorsed the product for a series of magazine ads.[21][22]


  1. ^ "BrandFatima - Cigarettes Pedia". www.cigarettespedia.com. Archived from the original on 2017-07-20.
  2. ^ "Fatima". www.zigsam.at. Archived from the original on 2018-02-10.
  3. ^ a b "Smoke 'Em (if you got 'em)". knowotr.blogspot.nl. Archived from the original on 2018-02-09.
  4. ^ a b "Stanford Research into the Impact of Tobacco Advertising". tobacco.stanford.edu. Archived from the original on 2017-07-20.
  5. ^ a b c "Liggett & Myers Tobacco Co". Archived from the original on 2018-02-07.
  6. ^ "Main Street, Carolina Documents". mainstreet.lib.unc.edu. Archived from the original on 2013-12-16.
  7. ^ Huntley Archives HD (18 May 2016). "Fatima Cigarettes Billboard New York, 1910s - Film 95757". Archived from the original on 10 February 2018 – via YouTube.
  8. ^ Paper, Period. "1950 Ad Fatima Cigarettes Cameron Richmond Liggitt Myers Patricia COLL3". Period Paper. Archived from the original on 2018-02-10.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-08-04. Retrieved 2018-02-10.
  10. ^ "1951 FATIMA Cigarettes Vintage Advertisement Smoking Glamorous Lady Showgirl Woman".
  11. ^ "Your Classic Car Classifieds and Community". www.oldride.com. Archived from the original on 2018-02-10.
  12. ^ "Magazine Ad For Fatima Cigarettes, Paul Henry, I Look for Real Quality in My Dogs & Guns, 1952 - Magazines Ads and Books Store". magazinesadsandbooks.com. Archived from the original on 2018-02-10.
  13. ^ "Fatima Cigarettes -1916A". www.magazineart.org. Archived from the original on 2018-02-10.
  14. ^ "1951 Fatima sigaretten Ad - Sinterklaas - Kerstmis - Wall Art - Decor - Retro Vintage tabaksreclame". Etsy.
  15. ^ FlipbookCollector (9 July 2014). "Fatima Cigarettes Dance flipbook". Archived from the original on 10 February 2018 – via YouTube.
  16. ^ "Collectors.com - Trading Cards - 1910 - T331 FATIMA CIGARETTES STAMP". www.collectors.com. Archived from the original on 2018-02-09.
  17. ^ "1913 Fatima Cigarettes Baseball Cards Cinci &". LiveAuctioneers. Archived from the original on 2018-02-09.
  18. ^ "Jon Canfield's Baseball Related Cigarette and Tobacco Packs". www.baseballandtobacco.com. Archived from the original on 2015-03-02.
  19. ^ "Baseball Team Cards from the Jefferson R. Burdick Collection". The Metropolitan Museum of Art, i.e. The Met Museum. Archived from the original on 2018-02-09.
  20. ^ desertdawn226 (26 December 2014). "Chesterfield & Fatima Cigarettes End of 1951 Dragnets". Archived from the original on 10 February 2018 – via YouTube.
  21. ^ Terrace, Vincent (14 October 2010). "Radio Program Openings and Closings, 1931–1972". McFarland. Archived from the original on 9 February 2018 – via Google Books.
  22. ^ "Basil Rathbone, Master of Stage and Screen: Advertisements". www.basilrathbone.net. Archived from the original on 2017-07-07.