A pack or packet of cigarettes is a rectangular container, mostly of paperboard, which contains cigarettes. The pack is designed with a flavor-protective foil, paper or plastic, and sealed through a transparent airtight plastic film. By pulling the “pull-tabs”, the pack is opened. Hard packs can be closed again after opening, whereas soft packs cannot.
Cigarette packs often contain warning messages depending on which country they are sold in. In the European Union, most tobacco warnings are standardised (although the United Kingdom now has plain tobacco packaging).
The size of a pack is often regulated. Government agencies usually set a minimum pack size.
In Australia, the most common quantity per pack is 25, but some brands have changed them to 26 or to 20 (the minimum by law). 30, 40 and even 50 packs are also sold.
In Canada, most packs sold have 25 cigarettes, but packs of 20 are also popular.
In many European countries, increases of cigarette tax can cause the quantity of cigarettes in the pack to change to achieve the same end price.
In Malaysia, the selling of packs containing fewer than 20 cigarettes is prohibited.
In the United States, the quantity of cigarettes in a pack must be at least 20. Certain brands, such as Export As, come in packs of 25. For many years, half-packs of 10 (or even 14) cigarettes were commonly available.
In the United Kingdom brands are sold only in packets of 20 since a May 2017 law prohibits the sale of 10-stick packs (along with loose tobacco only being sold in 30g or 50g only).The legislation also outlawed branded packaging, introducing boxes which are a plain green color. The packaging has the brand name in a basic typeface, with most of the packet dedicated to textual and photographic health warnings. Vending machines sometimes dispense packets containing 16 or 18 cigarettes although the dimensions of the packaging are the same as the equivalent packet that contains 20.
Hard pack and soft pack
A hard pack is the usual style of paperboard packaging for store bought cigarettes, which consists of a relatively stable box. The flip-top hard pack cigarette case was introduced in 1955 by Philip Morris. This successfully prevents the crumpling of cigarettes when kept in a person’s pocket or handbag. Also the design of the hard pack works the way that makes the smoker to see the brand name and logo every time s/he opens the pack. Branded top of the hard pack works as a perfect reminder of what to buy next time.
A soft pack is a box packaging made of thin paper, usually containing 20 cigarettes. Soft packs may be considered inconvenient as they rupture easily and cannot be resealed. They offer the immediate convenience of not having to open the package each time the smoker wants a cigarette. They require less physical ‘pocket space’ when fewer cigarettes remain in the pack. With American brands, cigarettes from a soft pack are usually a few millimeters longer than their hard-boxed counterparts.
Cigarette packs are popular items among collectors. They are fine examples of industrial design and a good source for studies of social, cultural and marketing history. Collectors usually base their collections on various criteria like cigarette brand, country of producer, time period, warning message, etc. Also, it’s important for collectors whether the packages empty or full. Empty packs are more common and cheaper than full ones. Full packs are considered to be rare and expect to pay more for them, especially for packs in original cellophane wrapping.
To encourage cigarette pack collectors, some cigarette packs were made to present a particular interest for collectors. There are cigarette packs labeled “collectible”.
Some brands introduce promotional packs to bypass advertising laws. An example would be a limited time promotion where the pack is made from tin with the shape, purpose, and look of a cigarette case to entice potential buyers. They are distinguished by unique décor or are very old or they were removed from manufacturing for some reasons and consequently became rare.
Cigarette brands from 1920-1930
The most popular cigarette brands of this period were Player’s Navy Cut, Woodbine, Capstan, Craven ‘A’, and Black Cat. Woodbines were cheap cigarettes aimed at working-class people while Craven ‘A’ was one of the earliest filter brands initially targeted at women.
Cigarette brands from 1940s
The top-selling cigarette brands of the decade were Lucky Strike, Camel, Chesterfield, and Old Gold. That was the time of growth for the whole tobacco industry: again cigarettes were included in the soldier rations during World War II.
Cigarette brands from 1950s
The top-selling cigarette brands of the decade were the same as in the previous one except that the no.1 was Camel. The other brands were Balto, Brunette, Encore, Gitanes, and Kent. Cigarettes were widely advertised on TV. 
Most cigarette packs have no features at all and are just made up of a single container filled with cigarettes. However, some cigarette packs have been proposed that also contain an empty container for disposing the cigarette butts into. This could reduce cigarette butts of being discarded unto the street, where they contaminate the environment.
Plain tobacco packaging
Tobacco packaging drives brand image to attract new consumers to their tobacco products and creates brand loyalty.
To give stylish impact to tobacco packaging companies use different techniques like gold and silver foiling, embossing, perforating, debussing, raised ink printing, digital printing, and screen printing.
In general, tobacco packaging plays a major role in advertising and promotion of Tobacco marketing.
Recent introduction of Plain packaging contributes to improving public health because young people told that plain packaging reduces the positive image of smoking and the possibility of stimulus related to the package design.
The introduction of plain packages was considered as the end of cigarette pack collecting by some collectors as it made the packs unattractive. The other collectors adapted to the new reality and included variations of warning messages as one of the criteria for basing their collections on.
- Press Association (19 May 2017). “Stricter cigarette packaging rules come into force in UK”. The Guardian. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
- Eschner, Kat (11 January 2017). “People Have Tried to Make U.S. Cigarette Warning Labels More Graphic for Decades”. Smithsonian. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
- “Cigarette Vending Packs”. Licensed Trade Vending Supplies. Archived from the original on 13 October 2004. Retrieved 15 April 2008.
- Gene Borio. “Tobacco Timeline: The Twentieth Century 1950–1999 – The Battle is Joined”. Tobacco.org. Retrieved 21 July 2012.
- “Dealing With an Innovative Industry: A Look at Flavored Cigarettes Promoted by Mainstream Brands”. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. 7 August 2005. PMC 1470487. Missing or empty
- “History of the world in 52 packs | 10. The Marlboro flip top box”. www.packagingnews.co.uk. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
- “Vintage, retro & social history: articles and collectors’ guides”. www.retrowow.co.uk. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
- “CIGARETTES”. adage.com. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
- Cigarette packs with container for cigarette butts
- Patent for a cigarette packs with container for cigarette butts