A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

A student-operated publication at Santa Rosa Junior College.

The Oak Leaf

Top 10 cigarettes I smoked in Europe

Zane Zinkl
Analog (nondigital) cigarette machines are still present in Portugal.
Courtesy of dutyfree.io
Winston Reds are still very popular in Europe.
Courtesy of cigarettespedia.com
Português Suaves are also sometimes labelled as “Softs.”
Courtesy of dutyfree.io
Chesterfield Reds have a mixed reputation and a storied history.


Chesterfield Blues are found in cigarette machines throughout Europe.


Courtesy of cigaretkretek.com
Lucky Strikes with filters like these are rare in the U.S.


Courtesy of go4cigarettes.com
Marlboro Reds are one of the most popular cigarette brands in the world.


Courtesy of dutyfree.io
Marlboro Golds are much more commonly smoked in Europe than in the U.S.


Courtesy of shutterstock.com
This European store displays many packs of Chesterfield Originals.


Courtesy of smokers-mall.com
Camel’s are extremely popular worldwide, but there is particular affection for them in Europe.


Courtesy of blogoteca.com
Português Reds and other Português brand cigarettes are a favorite in Portugal. Courtesy of blogoteca.com



Let’s be honest. Europeans smoke a lot of cigarettes. 

I smoked more cigarettes in Europe than I thought a human could possibly smoke. When I first flew across the Atlantic, I watched people suck down coffee and cigs for hours in the morning without eating a single thing. It boggled my mind. I could not comprehend how someone could sit there and smoke away on an empty stomach. 

Needless to say, I soon found out.

And now that I’ve returned to the land of health craze and unhappy glaze — the good ole U.S. of A — I want to take this moment to share some hard-earned wisdom and my favorite packs.

First, the wisdom:

Many Americans wonder how Europeans can drink and smoke, night and day, and still be healthy. 

It’s called walking. They do it every day.

So with that said, here are my picks for Top 10 packs:


#10 Chesterfield Blues

These have to be one of the harshest frackin’ cigarettes with a filter I’ve ever had the displeasure to find on God’s Green Earth. I don’t mean to be cliché, but they taste like an ashtray. 

They’re the same price as Chesterfield Reds. So, if you’re feeling nostalgic, do yourself a favor and stay red on this one. 

I bought these from an Italian cigarette machine and had already gone through the hassle of bumming someone’s health card. Yes, you need a Ministry of Health card to use the cigarette machines in Italy. Yes, the machines are 24/7. And yes — as I know you’re wondering — they sell lighters, too.


#9 Português Suaves (softs)

Português-brand cigarettes are a native favorite of Portugal. Some of the varieties are quite good. Others were born menthol crushes or suaves and were never meant for love in this world.

Like Goldilocks, I like my cigarettes just right.

Not too harsh, not too soft; a cigarette can be smooth, but it needs to get the job done. 

As for Português Suave’s, there’s a time and a place for a light smoke, but Europe isn’t it.


#8 Marlboro Golds

Here’s a pack of smokes with a face only a mother could love. 

Mommy’s little helpers come in many forms, but thanks to the good people over at Marlboro, she finally has a cigarette she can really sink her teeth into. 

Finally, there’s an alternative to grinding her jaw and using every fiber of her being to keep herself from hitting the kids. Pairs well with red or white wine.


#7 Winston Reds

Winstons get a bad rap. They may be a bit on the lighter side, but to be honest, they’re cheap and they do the job. This is a more forgiving cigarette, perfect for nights of wild drinking, or long lingers in the cafe. Will people look at you like you’re poor? Probably. 

But the better question is, after a long drag off a Winston, would you care?


#6 Lucky Strikes (with filter)

Lucky Strikes are a doggone American tradition. Your forefathers smoked these babies with a ration of Hershey’s, while fightin’ Nazis in the European theatre. 

In the ‘20s Lucky Strikes became a symbol of female liberation. The company encouraged young women to light up their “Torches of Freedom.” Cigarettes were a symbol of women’s aspirations for equality and a better life.

If these beauties were filterless like they are in the states, Lucky Strikes would be my favorite European endeavor. Unfortunately, just as it is near impossible to find filtered Luckys in America, Europe finds itself cataclysmically devoid of classic Lucky Strikes.

The filter proves to be absolutely ruinous to this treasured brand, giving it a metallic, industrial tinge sure to turn off all classic connoisseurs.


#5 Camels

Camel is one of the most common cigarette brands found in Europe. In the tobacco world, Camels are like vanilla ice cream: inoffensive to all and smoked by die-hard fans. 

These stogies are smooth and easy to smoke. Perfect for people who still have time to quit!

Favorites in the hostel scene, you’ll find many a tourist or transient worker tokin’ up on this smoke.


#4 Marlboro Reds

Just like the rest of the known world and the International Space Station, “Marb Reds” are a European favorite.

These classic cowboy killers are a favorite of dads and dedicated smokers everywhere. The cancer of the working man, Marb Reds are here to get you through your day.

While sometimes labelled as harsh and trashy, Marb Reds do not believe in labels. 

Marb Reds love you just the way you are.


#3 Chesterfield Reds

I’m not going to lie: Chesters are a favorite of mine. I walked 20 miles on the side of an Italian highway with only my Camelbak and Chesterfields to keep me company. 

We became quite attached.

A lot of people may fervently disagree with my choice of Chesterfields in the Top 3. Many people might respond, “You ACTUALLY like Chesterfield Reds?”

Why, yes. Yes, I do. 

They’re strong and they last long. But not too long. 

Perfect for people want to light up and SMOKE.


#2 Chesterfield Originals (Special Release)

These were a trip down memory lane and a Swiss country road. A limited release by Phillip Morris in Switzerland, Chesterfield Originals are an inspiration. 

It’s Chesterfield at its classic conception, the way God intended. 

A cigarette for writers, artists and desperate thinkers; Chesterfield OGs are here to help you reach your muse with a few puffs and a bottle of wine.

What better way to take in the breathtaking, live-for-now beauty of the Swiss Alps than to take your breath away with the kind of hard-hitting stogie your mother warned you about?


#1 Português Reds

These were the last cigarettes, the last melon.  

Europe saved the best for last.

Very similar to Winstons but far superior, and clocking in at a price of €2.80 ($3.09) a pack, Português Reds are an easy, versatile smoke. 

Just like Winstons, these are very forgiving.

Soft as cotton, Português Reds are still a smack to the face. They hit you in all the right places and leave you wanting more — many, many more; so many more that you’ll forget you smoked more.

These are good cigarettes for the real fiends among us who like the oral fix of smoking cigs on cigs on cigs.

I myself smoked a pack all to myself inside Charles De Gaulle Airport. 

Yes, that’s right, INSIDE the airport. Those smokes sailed me through a 17-hour layover.

The French know you need a little somethin’ to get you through your day.


It turned out to be a very culturally educational trip. 

The lifespan of my lungs is now measured in smoke rings.

I don’t regret a thing!

Life is all about choices; sometimes those choices become habits.

When the American reaches for their phone, the good European reaches for a smoke.


Did you want to live forever?

View Comments (11)
About the Contributor
Zane Zinkl
Zane Zinkl, Editor-in-Chief
Zane Zinkl is a sociology major in his third semester at The Oak Leaf, a publication crazy enough to name him editor-in-chief. Nobody is Zane. Zane is nobody. You look down at me only to see pickles for eyes. I am singing the song that gives birth to the universe. My body experiences a sudden lack of electrons. Across a variety of hidden dimensions you are dismayed. John Lennon hands me an apple, but it slips through my fingers. I am reborn as an ocelot. You disapprove.

Comments (11)

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  • A

    AndyFeb 24, 2023 at 5:36 am

    I love how at the beginning it says this article contains chemicals that are known the state of California to cause cancer!!! 🤣🤣🤣

  • S

    SusieAug 25, 2022 at 8:10 pm

    Actually, if I may add Lucky’s with filters are not too difficult to get here in the States. Maybe that info was a bit out dated. I found your article interesting ty.

    • Z

      Zane ZinklJun 19, 2023 at 7:33 pm

      It is dated. This article is ancient! You can get Luckies with a filter now. That’s new within the last year or two.

  • K

    Kurt SchwittersJun 25, 2022 at 5:37 am

    When I first came to Asia (China) in 1980, my fave smoke was State Express 555s, which I no longer find (in Malaysia). No prob though since I quit in 1985.

  • J

    JBJun 21, 2022 at 4:30 pm

    Just tare the filter off and you’ve got what you need.

  • D

    DaveJun 8, 2022 at 9:50 am

    AS a former smoker this article almost had me going for a bender of sampling the top 10 brands in Europe but then I remembered why I chose to stop smoking and start investing in tobacco. My tobacco stock dividends allow me to travel Europe in comfort and while it satisfied an itch, smoking never did.

  • K

    KarstenMay 18, 2022 at 10:56 am

    What about Winston Blacks? My favourite poisen since I have quit Gitanes.

  • K

    KevinFeb 5, 2022 at 12:41 am

    Fantastic post. Having walk hitched and generally bummed my way from Budapest to Rome, Manchester to Madrid and back as well as Manchester to South of France and back.
    The memories this helped me re-live was breath taking, pun intended.

    • J

      JujuMay 20, 2023 at 10:27 pm

      Love your article as much as I love my cigarettes! I do survive my first half day with only coffee and cigarettes here in LA. 😂

  • A

    Andy FoxMar 11, 2021 at 9:54 am

    Gauloises blue pack are the best cig in europe and didn’t even make your list?! Throw this man in jail!

  • M

    MaxSep 7, 2019 at 11:23 pm

    Wow. As someone who has taken a similar journey, this hit the nail on the head. Portugal was clutch with the choices as always. I really felt as if I was with you in portugal smoking one down in Barria Alta. A worthy read. The words of a wise man.