Ceylon Tobacco Launching a Cigarette Targeting Women

From TobaccoUnmasked


Global evidence reveals that tobacco companies target women and girls through diverse marketing and advertising strategies.[1][2]

Introduction of ‘feminised’ cigarettes: long, extra slim, light coloured, low tar and flavoured are such strategies used. Recent evidence suggests that those are increasingly used in developing countries.[2][3][4]

Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC (CTC) is the British American Tobacco (BAT) subsidiary that owns the monopoly of manufacturing and sales of cigarettes in Sri Lanka. CTC launched a ‘fruit flavoured’ cigarette in July 2018 as described below.

Image 1: Sunday Times reporting the launch of the fruit flavoured cigarette.[5]

Launching a New Cigarette

A national newspaper (Sunday Times) reported that CTC launched a new cigarette with red berry flavour. It was reported to be a “line extension” of the John Player Gold Leaf brand, the most commonly sold cigarette brand in Sri Lanka. The article further quoted unnamed “research analysts” stating that it is “a bid to attract new segments – possibly females”(Image 1). A Research Analyst of Asia Securities Limited, Mangalee Gunatilleke, reportedly stated that (CTC) would monitor its “effectiveness and acceptability” before adding it to the permanent portfolio.[5][6] Asia Securities identify themselves as “Globally recognized for our excellence in market making, trading and international standard research, we are the leading independent equity brokerage in Sri Lanka.” in their website.[7]

However, even though the newspaper reported such a launch, the cigarette was not found in the retail shops tried by the TobaccoUnmasked team nor the launch was reported by other newspapers.

CTC’s History of Targeting Girls and Women

There is evidence that CTC targeted women in their promotion of cigarettes. A research publication reported that CTC targeted girls to smoke in the Benson & Hedges’ “Golden Tones Disco” in 1997 with “intensive” cigarette promotion and free admission tickets. The same publication described how a road safety message was displayed in the front wall of a famous girl’s school in Kandy with the logo of CTC Eagle, a subsidiary of CTC. Please refer to our page CTC Eagle for more details.[8]

Ceylon Tobacco Company PLC (CTC) keen to recruit young girls for their marketing purposes, such as distributing free cigarettes and promotional items in public places.[8] And also, they uses well paid young attractive women as “model” smokers targeting young girls.[9]

Tobacco Unmasked Resources

The local language translations



  1. McCormick, Brendan J. FW: Abc News Special - Women And Smoking, Philip Morris International Records, Truth Tobacco Industry Documents Library, 11th July 2001, accessed March 2019
  2. 2.0 2.1 Asian Consultancy on Tobacco Control. Invited Review Series: Tobacco And Lung Health-Women And Tobacco, Philip Morris International Records, Truth Tobacco Industry Documents Library, 1st January 2003, accessed March 2019
  3. World Health Organization. Women and Tobacco, Philip Morris Records, 1992, accessed March 2019
  4. Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. Tobacco Industry Targeting of Women and Girls, undated, accessed March 2019
  5. 5.0 5.1 D. E. Chandrasekera. CTC launches ‘fruit flavoured’ cigarette, Business Times, Sunday Times, 1st July 2018, accessed March 2019
  6. Sunday Times. CTC launches 'fruit flavoured' cigarette, 1st July 2018, accessed March 2019
  7. Asia Securities. About Us, website, undated, accessed April 2019
  8. 8.0 8.1 Tamsyn Seimon. Strategic marketing of cigarettes to young people in Sri Lanka: “Go ahead—I want to see you smoke it now”, BMJ Tobacco Control, 1st December 1998, accessed March 2019
  9. R. Warnasuriaya, P. Ranawaka. Plus-Lured by the fag, Sunday Times online, undated, accessed March 2019