The first mention of David Bowie on this blog was in connection with Lou Reed who received tobacco magnate, George Arents’ 2007 Pioneer Medal For Excellence In The Arts. (Bowie had attended the reception.)
The 2nd mention was about Mick Rock’s iconic photo of Bowie, Lou Reed & Iggy Pop (holding pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes in his teeth). I briefly speculated whether Bowie smoked, but it was easy enough to confirm.
Sorry to learn this morning that David Bowie at 69 has died of cancer.
After a bad start to the 1970s for the tobacco companies, their market continued to deteriorate. Worst of all was the discovery that the fight seemed to have gone out of their customers. Although they still smoked, their hearts were treacherous. A survey showed that most smokers believed public places, including sporting facilities, should have nonsmoking areas set aside, and that many smokers felt guilty about their habit…
The seventies were the 1960s prematurely aged. Things that had been fun in the sixties were being called dangerous the following decade. Half the innovators of rock ‘n’ roll were in their graves, though none yet of tobacco smoking related diseases. “Time takes a cigarette,” sang David Bowie in his elegy to the fallen, Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide. Those that had not died were judged by their fans to have “sold out”…
Tobacco: A Cultural History of How an Exotic Plant Seduced Civilization
by Iain Gately, 2002
What brand did he smoke? It appears that, like other Brits who came up during the Mod years, David Bowie smoked Gauloise cigarettes.
More about Bowie and his cigarette brand(s), after the fold…
Mod culture rejected English heritage, and strove instead for European elegance.
The Kids Were Alright, Stuart McGurk, GQ Magazine UK, May 14, 2014
In 2006, Bowie became a pack of Gauloise cigarettes on the animated Adult Swim show, The Venture Bros.
Even before today’s sad news, the question of what cigarette brand Bowie smoked, is apparently one which was frequently asked.
In its FAQ section, the fan website Bowie Wonder World has this to about it:
The last brand he smoked were Marlboro Lights. He gave up smoking in early 2002. Throughout the Seventies he mainly smoked the French brand Gitanes.