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Decoding a cigarette package. What the inscriptions on cigarettes mean

We tell you about what is encrypted in the inscriptions on cigarette packages.


The most visible and striking part of the pack is the part of the front with the name, logo and other recognizable design elements. For example, a Marlboro pack is easily recognized by the red “flag”, Camel by the camel.

Next to the brand is the name of the product itself, as one brand can have from 2 to 15 different cigarettes in the assortment. They may differ in the presence of a capsule and its flavor, strength, format, etc. You can often find very creative product names, especially in capsule cigarettes.

The color of the pack often indicates the strength of the cigarette – stronger cigarettes are packaged in red, black or dark packs, while weaker cigarettes are packaged in white or light colors. The top and bottom caps of cigarettes are usually filled with the same color. This makes it easier for both the seller and the buyer to find the right product on the shelf at the point of sale.

Various industrial design solutions are used in the production of cigarette packaging: shiny foil, special coating to make the pack more “soft” to the touch, even flavored panels to neutralize the unpleasant smell on your fingers after smoking.

Cigarette, filter, or distinctive technology features

Sometimes the pack is labeled with icons that tell an infographic about the technology or unique features of the filters or tobacco pouch.

For example, Marlboro cigarettes have a Firm filter icon that tells you about the denser filter used in the design.

On packs of L&M compact cigarettes, you may see the Premium Recessed Filter pictogram. This is the small paper rim above the filter so that you don’t have to touch the filter directly with your lips.

Sometimes you can even find all sorts of facts about the brand or manufacturer. For example, on a pack of Parliament there is a reference to the fact that the brand was founded in 1931 on Fifth Avenue in New York.

Product properties and characteristics

The cigarette pack contains a lot of factual information:

  1. The number of cigarettes in the pack – 20 or 25 .
  2. Description of cigarettes (with filter, cigarettes with capsule, with menthol, etc.).
  3. The content of tar and nicotine in mg in one cigarette. By the way, the amount of tar and nicotine is measured in laboratory conditions on special smoking machines at a fixed “average” number of puffs. With heavy smoking, the actual amount of tar and nicotine that enters the body may be higher.
  4. Manufacturer’s or importer’s address.
  5. The manufacturer’s barcode, which encodes information about the characteristics of the product. The first three digits mean the country of origin (manufacturer or seller) of the product. For Ukraine this code is 482. The next 4 digits – the manufacturer’s identifier, 5 after them – the name of the product, its consumer properties, dimensions, weight, color, and the last digit – a control digit used to verify the correctness of reading – bar code scanner.
  6. Certificate of Conformity DSTU GOST 3935:2004 – is a state quality standard, which must be obtained before the product hits the shelves in points.
  7. The date of production and maximum retail price are mandatory elements for all legal cigarette products.
  8. The serial number of numbers and letters on the bottom of the pack is a production marking that helps identify which batch the pack belongs to.
  9. Contacts for consumer complaints and suggestions – sometimes placed under the lid.
  10. Sometimes a QR code with a link to content from the manufacturer is placed on the inside of the pack – you can read about the product, about the novelty, or even immerse yourself in augmented reality.

Warning about the dangers of smoking

The first thing that catches the eye is the large letters “Smoking kills” on a white background, which occupies exactly half of the pack. On the back panel, in addition to the text, you can also see pictures depicting the negative consequences of smoking and the accompanying text. This is a mandatory warning about the harm of smoking, and according to the law, all cigarette manufacturers must put it on the pack. This type of packet was introduced in 2012 after the law was passed. Then the advertising of tobacco products was also banned.

By the way, in many other countries this warning can look more intimidating. For example, in EU countries, the picture is placed on the front of the pack and it reaches 65% of the entire panel.