Sweet Afton (cigarette)

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Sweet Afton
A 20-pack of Sweet Afton cigarettes with a text warning in both Irish and English stating "Smoking kills".
Product type Cigarette
Produced by British American Tobacco
Introduced 1919; 99 years ago (1919)
Discontinued 2011
Markets Ireland, Germany[1][2][3]
Previous owners P.J. Carroll & Co.

Sweet Afton was an Irish brand of short, unfiltered cigarettes made with Virginia tobacco and produced by P.J. Carroll & Co., Dundalk, Ireland, now a subsidiary of British American Tobacco.[4]


The Sweet Afton brand was launched by Carroll's in 1919 to celebrate the link between Dundalk and the national poet of Scotland, Robert Burns. Burns' eldest sister, Agnes, lived in Dundalk from 1817 until her death in 1834 and was buried in the cemetery of St. Nicholas's Church in the town. Carroll's thought that the brand would only be successful in Scotland if the carton simply had an image of Burns, or Scottish name on the packet, so the people of Dundalk were canvassed and the name Sweet Afton was chosen.[5] The name is taken from Burns' poem "Sweet Afton", which itself takes its title from the poem's first stanza:

Flow gently, sweet Afton, amang thy green braes
Flow gently, I’ll sing thee a song in thy praise
My Mary’s asleep by they murmuring stream
Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream.

A larger version of the cigarette was also marketed under the brand name Afton Major.[6] This name served as inspiration for Carroll's later Major brand of tipped cigarettes.[7]

As of Autumn 2011, British American Tobacco no longer manufactures Sweet Afton cigarettes. The text "Thank you for your loyalty, unfortunately Sweet Afton will not be available in the future. However Major, our other Irish brand with similar tobacco will still be widely available for purchase." was written on a sticker that was put on the last line of packs, before it went out of production.[8][9]

Popular culture[edit]

The brand proved particularly popular with post World War II Rive Gauche Paris. It was reputed to be Jean-Paul Sartre's preferred cigarette, and also featured prominently in Louis Malle's film Le Feu Follet, as well as a number of other Nouvelle Vague films.[10] Margot Tenenbaum (played by Gwyneth Paltrow) from Wes Anderson's 2001 film The Royal Tenenbaums also smokes Sweet Aftons. Thomas Shelby, in Peaky Blinders, smokes Sweet Aftons.


  1. ^ "BrandSweet Afton - Cigarettes Pedia". www.cigarettespedia.com. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Sweet Afton". Zigsam.at. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  3. ^ "Brands". Cigarety.by. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  4. ^ "P.J. Carroll Brands". Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  5. ^ "Robert Burns and the Dundalk Connection". Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  6. ^ "Afton Major (Large Size) - Cigarettes Pedia". Cigarettespedia.com. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  7. ^ "Major (Virginia Filter Tipped) S-10-H - Ireland - Cigarettes Pedia". Cigarettespedia.com. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  8. ^ "Who knew? (Sweet Afton is no more)". Sluggerotoole.com. 25 January 2012. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  9. ^ "Sweet Afton to be discontinued..." Board.ie. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  10. ^ Jack, Ian (25 February 2006). "Ian Jack on being a tobacco tourist". Theguardian.com. Retrieved 7 January 2018.