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Gold Leaf Tobacco Corporation

History of Cigarettes

The earliest forms of cigarettes have been attested in Central America around the 9th century in the form of reeds and smoking tubes. The Maya, and later the Aztecs, smoked tobacco and various psychoactive drugs in religious rituals and frequently depicted priests and deities smoking on pottery and temple engravings. The cigarette, and the cigar, were the most common method of smoking in the Caribbean, Mexico and Central and South America until recent times.

By 1830, the cigarette had crossed into France, where it received the name cigarette; and in 1845, the French state tobacco monopoly began manufacturing them.

In the George Bizet opera Carmen, which was set in Spain in the 1830s, the title character Carmen was at first a worker in a cigarette factory.

In the English-speaking world, the use of tobacco in cigarette form became increasingly popular during and after the Crimean War, when British soldiers began emulating their Ottoman Turkish and Russian comrades. This was helped by the development of tobaccos that are suitable for cigarette use, and by the development of the Egyptian cigarette export industry.

The widespread smoking of cigarettes in the Western world is largely a 20th Century phenomenon - at the start of the century the per capita annual consumption in the USA was 54 cigarettes, and consumption there peaked at 4,259 per capita in 1965. At that time about 50% of men and 33% of women smoked (defined as smoking more than 100 cigarettes per year). By 2000, consumption had fallen to 2,092 per capita, corresponding to about 30% of men and 22% of women smoking more than 100 cigarettes per year, and by 2006 per capita consumption had declined to 1,691; implying that about 21% of the population smoked 100 cigarettes or more per year.


Current Tobacco Legislation in South Africa can be summarised as follows. The Tobacco Products Control Act, Act 83 of 1993 as amended by Act 12 of 1999, bans advertising, sponsorship and smoking in public places and work places except under specific conditions. It enforces restrictions on vending machines whilst providing for normal yields of constituents. It further goes on to bank single stick sales, free distribution and reward and makes provisions for fines.

Regulations, 2 December 1994 prescribes health warnings on packs as-well as packaging and labeling requirements. Regulations, 29 September 2000 dictates tar and nicotine levels, point of sale exposure and also covers sponsorship and advertising together with smoking in public places.

The Tobacco Products Control Amendment Act 2007, was singed in the president of the Republic in February 2008 and specifies new and amended definitions, smoking in public places, standards for manufacturing and export of tobacco products, The Minister's of Health's power to regulate, tobacco product exemptions and offences and penalties.

Underage Smoking

South African Law prohibits selling cigarettes to customers under 18 years of age. We actively promote this by constantly updating and reminding our customers to operate within the law.

Illegal trading

To report any suspicious trading in illegal or counterfeit cigarettes' please call the SARS FRAUD and ANTI-CORRUPTION HOTLINE on 0800 00 28 70