Canadian cigarette packs - unique size and shape?

Canadian smokes come in packs that look like this. In all my travels across this blue ball of ours, I have never seen any other countries’ smokes packaged in the same way. I’ve tried googling to no avail. Does anyone know of any other countries that package cigarettes in the same way? Does anyone know why Canada packages smokes the way they do?

Thank you, and goodnight. drops mic

Were the packages like that before the larger, graphic health warnings? I would guess the box is large and flat to accommodate the warning, but if boxes were like that before, I’m curious too.

As far as I can remember (the 60s), they were always like WAG is I think it is a leftover from the time they came in flat metal boxes like this one.

Canadian cigarette packages have always been like that, even before the health warnings. The design of the package, by the way, is called the “hull and slide,” as opposed to the “paper cup” and the “flip top box,” which was also used in Canada, generally for packs of 20 King Size cigarettes. Back in the days when I was doing a lot of international travel and smoking cigarettes, I never saw a hull-and-slide pack anywhere except back home in Canada.

Another unusual thing about packaging Canadian cigarettes: the choice. Years ago, many Canadian cigarette brands were available in regular size (70mm, which I’ve never seen anywhere but Canada) and King size (85mm). And, they were available in in large (25) or small (20) packs. As a result, Canadians never simply asked for a pack of Sparkies; they had to be specific: “Large pack of Sparkies regulars,” or “Small Sparkies Kings, please.”

Speaking of Canadian cigarettes, they have also been removed from display and drugstores have stopped selling them altogether (I believe) - at least in Alberta. Your average corner store still sells them, but they are behind opaque shelving now. I’m not sure what the logic behind this fairly recent move is.

It’s part of the ever-increasing restrictions on advertising of cigarettes. Once the federal regulations came in that banned most advertisements, even in the stores, the tobacco companies began encouraging vendors to put up large numbers of the cigarettes in their display areas, so that the packages themselves would amount to the advertising. One nickname for it is a “power wall”. As a result, many jurisdictions have begun prohibiting the display of tobacco products entirely, in areas where under-18s are admitted.

The reason that drugstores are no longer selling them (this varies from province to province; not all provinces have that requirement) is the idea that there is absolutely no health benefit to tobacco smoking, and in fact it’s extremely bad for your health. The argument is that it’s not consistent with the professional ethos of pharmacists to sell a product, which if used as intended, has no health benefits and many significant health risks.

It looks similar to the way Dunhills were packaged here (at least at my university’s student union.) The packs looked like this. I don’t know if we got them from Canada or not, but I do remember that particular brand being packaged that way in the mid-90s. I want to say there was another brand – maybe Nat Sherman or similar upmarket brand – that also came in that kind of packaging.

An interesting side-effect of this is that tobacconists–real tobacconists, who sell high-end cigars, and pipe tobaccos, and pipes, and so on; not cigarettes, magazines, and candy–tend to be exempt from the display requirements inside their stores. But they still cannot allow their wares to be seen from the outside. As a result, tobacconists are doing things like making their windows opaque, and posting signs outside saying things like, “adults only, must be 18, ID will be checked.”

Last time I was in Calgary, I was at the Chinook Centre (a big mall). I thought I’d see if the tobacconist there had any of the English pipe tobacco I like but always have a hard time finding. But the tobacconist had made the above changes to the outside of the store, and I felt like a perv walking into an adult video store.

Hmm, maybe the tobacconists (now, there’s a word that doesn’t look spelled right!) need to branch into other…markets. “Pipe Tobacco and Porn!”

I don’t know if drugstores have stopped selling them, but in BC grocery stores and gas stations, cigarettes can no longer be displayed. They are all in hidden racks now. I guess the logic is to further discourage purchase. Out of sight, out of mind!?

No, not the same. It took some Googling, but I managed to find a photo of how the Canadian hull-and-slide works. See it here, in the lower right corner of the advertisement. There is a closed pack, and an open one, nicely illustrating that you push the slide up out of the hull to get to your smokes.

Also, here’s an old hull-and-slide pack from the days before health warnings. You can see that there is no physical break on the front of the pack, as there would be with a flip-top box. (As an aside, I bought these smokes in this pack for years: small Export “A” regulars.)

Sobranie Black Russiansalso came packaged like that.

Gitanes cigarettes (French) are packaged in a similar way, two rows of cigs in a wide package that slides out of a sleeve I also remember cigarettes in Australia being packaged in a similar manner; in a really wide package, possibly with 25 as opposed to 20 cigs. I’m not sure if they had the same sleeve design or if they were the more familiar flip-top style. Someone with more travel experience than I can chime in, but I think that the extra-wide, more than 20 cig packaging format is fairly common outside the US.

The link doesn’t seen to work for me. I think I understand what you mean. It kind of works like an open-ended drawer, for lack of a better description, right? In that case, I don’t think I’ve seen that here in the US. It vaguely rings a bell, but it’s not what I was thinking of.

Try this link. I was trying to get the ad out of the page it was on, but if you open the full page, you should see the ad in question near the bottom of the page. (Look for the Player’s ad featuring the hockey player.)

OK, now I’m more confused. That Player’s Light image looks like a flip top to me. Or is it more like a a deck of cards in a pack?

I think you had it the first time. The pack is made up of 2 separate pieces if cardboard: the outer box is open at the top and bottom that a second, separate piece of cardboard that is folded at either end (and holds the smokes) slides up and down in. Here is a picture of an old british pack that works the same way, but obviously has different dimensions than current Canadian packs.

The “flat 50” tins were common in the 1920s and '30s; I’ve seen WW2 period flat fifties made out of cardboard and labelled as “wartime packaging.”

You see a lot of these in Canada at flea markets; I think they were so handy for keeping screws and nails and whatnot in, that many wound up in the garage or garden shed.

Yer basic flat fifty.

[Bolding added]

I have heard these referred to by collectors as the “hull” and “slider,” respectively.

I have a few WW2 examples of the 10-cigarette size packs (which seems to have been the British standard for tailor-mades from WWI into WWII).

The most infamous brands (as far as the rank-and-file of the army was concerned) were Wild Woodbines (WWI) and Victory V (WWII). The latter were made in India, and available to Commonwealth troops in the Middle East and India-Burma. They were disliked, and the latrine rumour was that they were composed, at least in part, of camel or buffalo dung.

I know that they tried to make a comeback in the 80s and 90s but for 25 cigarettes (I bought several packs like this at specialty tobacco shops).