BrandSilk Cut

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Brand Silk Cut

Silk Cut is brand of low tar cigarette produced by the Gallaher corporation. The packaging is characterised by a distinctive stark white packet with the brand name in a purple square.

Tobacco only makes up 75% of the filling; the rest is Cytrel.

The brand increased in popularity around the world throughout the 1970s and 1980s as the dangers of cigarette smoking became well known and consumers switched to a lower tar brand. At 5 mg tar, Silk Cut contained up to half the tar content of stronger brands such as Benson and Hedges or Marlboro and the brand seemed more attractive to smokers, especially women.

The brand was marked by a clever advertising campaign designed by Saatchi and Saatchi from 1984. The adverts showed scissors cutting through silk, in a response to constraints on tobacco advertising where the actual product could not seen (notably, in one particular image a pair of surgical scissors were depicted). Later adverts had increasingly obscure images where the only clue for what the advert were the white and purple colours or a reference to silk with a cut in it. The adverts were a success and sales of Silk Cut rocketed. Silk Cut were also the title sponsors of the Rugby League Challenge Cup for a while and the competition was Known as the 'Silk Cut Challenge Cup'. Now it is illegal to advertise tobacco in many countries and the adverts have stopped. In the 1990s Silk Cut was the best selling brand in the UK. Now sales have declined behind cheaper budget brands as tax on tobacco has increased. In an attempt to counteract this, the manufacturers responded in the new millennium by introducing bevelled corners to redesigned regular gauge packaging, and marketing the first 'slim' cigarette in the UK, Silk Cut Slims.

Silk Cut is also available in a lower tar version and an ultra low tar version with a tar content of only 0.1 mg. When terms such as 'light' and 'low tar' were made illegal to use in the UK for use of tobacco promotion (for fear that it deluded smokers into thinking such products were safer), some commentators predicted that Silk Cut's name and good brand-recognition as a low-tar product would favourably affect sales of the brand to health conscious consumers.

It is a misconception that the tobacco in Silk Cuts contains less nicotine or tar than other cigarette tobacco. The lower nicotine levels are caused by the design of the filter, which has many more holes than regular strength cigarette filters, to mix the smoke with air.

Many cannabis smokers mistakenly use Silk Cut cigarette tobacco as a way of reducing damage from the tobacco in their joints.

"Bacons" is the American slang for Silk Cut cigarettes because the smoke has a slight bacon flavor.

Silk Cut is the brand of choice for comic book character John Constantine and for fictional heroine Bridget Jones.

Japan Tobacco International (JTI) is to launch Silk Cut super-slim cigarettes in "perfume-shaped" packaging designed to appeal to fashion-conscious young women, a move which has been described as "totally deplorable" by public health charity Action on Smoking and Health (Ash).

Silk Cut's new super-slim purple cigarettes are smaller than conventional ones and come in a more compact flip-top box.

JTI, which acquired Silk Cut brand owner Gallaher in 2007, described the new brand extension, which goes on sale next month (november 2008), as bringing "elegance and quality" to the super-slim cigarette sector.

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