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From left to right: Gauloises Brunes Filtre (filtered), Unfiltered, Blondes. (First three purchased in Belgium.) Gauloises Blondes (purchased in Canada).

Gauloises is a brand of cigarette of French manufacture. It is produced by the company Imperial Tobacco, following their acquisition of Altadis in January 2008.

Contents

Cigarette

Top left: Gauloises Blondes. Bottom right: Gauloises Brunes (unfiltered)

Traditional Gauloises were originally short, wide, unfiltered and made with dark tobaccos from Syria and Turkey which gave off a strong and distinctive smell.

Brand history

Gauloises cigarettes first appeared in the early 20th century. The brand is most famous for its very cigarettes' strength, especially in its original unfiltered version but it was only 40 years later when Filtered Gauloises cigarettes appeared in the 1950's. In 1984 the brand was relaunched to an American type blend of light tobacco and renamed Gauloises Blondes. Lower tar versions of Gauloises cigarettes are also available, sold in red and golden/white packets.[1]

Between the World Wars the smoking of Gauloises in France was considered patriotic and an affiliation with French "heartland" values. The brand was associated with the cigarette-smoking poilu (a slang term for the French infantryman in the trenches) and the resistance fighters during the Vichy Regime. Their slogan is: "Freedom forever". The brand was also linked to high-status and inspirational figures representing the worlds of art (e.g. Pablo Picasso) and the intellectual elite (e.g. Jean Paul Sartre[2], Albert Camus and Jean Baudrillard[3]). George Orwell also mentions that he smokes the brand in Down and Out in Paris and London. This, together with the romantic associations of France, made Gauloises a popular brand among some writers and artists: Ian Fleming's hero, James Bond, smoked Gauloises (but Bond's preference remained for his custom-ordered cigarettes from Morland's Special Blend of Grosvenor Street); in practically every story and novel written by Julio Cortázar set in Paris, the protagonists smoke Gauloises; they also appear in the Roman Polanski film The Tenant and the Robert De Niro and Jean Reno film Ronin, where it is smoked by Jean Reno's character; in John le Carré's book Smiley's People, Gauloises are the brand of choice of Estonian dissident Vladimir. John Lennon was a noted smoker of Gauloises Bleues. Smoking Gauloises is also mentioned in the teen series 'Gossip Girl.' The helmet of French comic strip character Asterix was based on the cigarette logo.[citation needed]. Fictional Detective Seargent Mort Cooperman smokes Gauloises in several mystery novels by Richard "Kinky" Friedman.[4]

Smoking Gauloises was also promoted as a contribution to the national good: a proportion of the profits from their sale was paid to the Regie Française des Tabacs, a semi-governmental corporation charged with controlling the use of tobacco, especially by minors, and directing its profits towards socially beneficial causes. The designers of the traditional Gauloise packet reinforced national identity by selecting a peculiarly French shade of blue (like the blues used in the work of French artist Yves Klein). Vercingetorix appears in silhouette on the cover[citation needed]. The cigarette was also featured in the well know book by janet finch- " paint it black".

Legal issues

The cigarette was manufactured by Seita but 1999 proved to be a landmark year. The legal difficulties crystallised when a French health insurance fund filed a 51.33 million franc lawsuit against four cigarette companies, including Seita, to cover the estimated and continuing costs of treating the illnesses linked to cigarette smoking. This was followed by an action filed by the family of a deceased heavy smoker and the French state health insurer, Caisse Primaire d'Assurance Maladie, claiming compensation for the cost of the deceased's medical treatment and for producing a dangerous and addictive product. Consequently, brand management was assigned to Altadis, with joint French and Spanish ownership, and this company continues manufacture and international distribution. This company is now facing legal action in its own right.

Recent developments

In mid-2003, the Gauloises brand was discontinued entirely in the USA. Remaining inventory carried through into early 2004. Company officials are on record as saying they have no plans to ever sell Gauloises in the USA again. However, Gauloises remain widely available in Canada. Gauloises is also sold widely in the Middle East at a price of Saudi Riyal 4 for a pack of 20 cigarettes.

Trivia

References

  1. ^ "Gauloises Blondes Ultra Light". Premium Cigarettes. http://www.premiumcigarettes.net/gauloises_blondes_yellow.html. 
  2. ^ http://www.cnn.com/2005/BUSINESS/09/01/france.gauloises/
  3. ^ Horrocks, Chris. Introducing Baudrillard: Icon Books, 1996.
  4. ^ Greenwich Killing Time, et al.
  5. ^ Furst, Alan (2004) Dark Voyage, Random House, Random House, ISBN 1-4000-6018-4: "It was a Gauloise — what British seamen called a golliwog".

External links

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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also gauloises

French

Noun

Gauloises f. pl.

  1. Plural form of Gaulois.

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