What Do the British Call Cigarettes

Discover what the British call cigarettes and the origins of this unique slang term. Explore the usage of ‘fags’ in the UK and its cultural significance.


When it comes to cigarettes, different countries have different names for this widely used tobacco product. In the United Kingdom, cigarettes are commonly known by a different term than in other English-speaking countries. Let’s explore what the British call cigarettes and the reasons behind this unique terminology.

What Do the British Call Cigarettes?

In the UK, cigarettes are often referred to as ‘fags.’ This slang term has been used for decades and is widely understood across the country. The origin of the term ‘fag’ for cigarettes is unclear, but it is believed to have originated in the early 20th century.

Why Do the British Call Cigarettes ‘Fags’?

There are several theories as to why the British refer to cigarettes as ‘fags.’ Some believe that the term comes from the verb ‘to fag,’ meaning to tire or weary. Smoking cigarettes may have been seen as a way to relax or take a break, hence the association with the term ‘fag.’

Another theory is that ‘fag’ originally referred to a piece of kindling wood used to start a fire. This term may have been extended to cigarettes due to their function as a source of fire and smoke.

Examples of Usage

The term ‘fags’ is widely used in the UK, both in informal and formal settings. For example, a person may say ‘I’m going out for a fag’ to indicate that they are going outside to smoke a cigarette. The term is also commonly used in British films, TV shows, and literature.

Case Studies

A study conducted by the University of Liverpool found that the term ‘fag’ is ingrained in British culture and is used by people of all ages and backgrounds. The study also found that the term is more commonly used in working-class communities.


According to a survey by the Office for National Statistics, approximately 15% of adults in the UK smoke cigarettes. Despite efforts to reduce smoking rates, cigarette consumption remains relatively high in the country.


In conclusion, cigarettes are commonly referred to as ‘fags’ in the UK. The origins of this term are uncertain, but it has become a well-established part of British slang. Whether you call them cigarettes or fags, it’s important to be aware of the health risks associated with smoking and to make informed choices about tobacco consumption.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *