Top Cigarette Brands in India: Stats, Reviews, Prices & More

Top Cigarette Brands in India


Uncover the top cigarette brands in India, preferences, smoking culture, range of choices, and nuanced insights with an ex-smoker as your guide.

As per the World Health Organization Report 2022, smoking accounts for 8 million deaths a year, including 1.3 million passive smokers globally. The same report puts the number of tobacco users in India at 267 million, 28.6% of the total population, as of 2022. Among them, over 100 million (10.7% of the adult Indian population) smoke. The prevalence is higher among males with 19.0% active smokers than females (2.0%). Alarmingly, 4% of kids aged 13 to 15 smoke. 

Click for the National Noncommunicable Disease Monitoring Survey (NNMS) 

Top Cigarette Brands in India: Market Trends

The Indian cigarette market was worth USD 21.5 Billion in 2022 and is expected to touch USD 42.7 Billion by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 11.94% during the forecast period, as per IMRC Group

According to Statista, the per-person revenue was USD 10.68 in 2023 with each smoker consuming 72.6 cigarettes. India will produce 87.5 billion sticks by 2028, with a growth rate of 0.5% predicted for 2024 and beyond. places ITC Ltd. as the leading cigarette company in India with 79% of the total sales by volume, ahead of Godfrey Phillips India (11%), VST Industries (7.7%), Philip Morris International (3.5%), and Japan Tobacco (2%).

ITC (Indian Tobacco Company) owns some of the top-selling cigarette brands in India, including Gold Flake, Wills Navy Cut, Classic, Insignia, India Kings, American Club, Players, Scissors, Capstan, Berkeley, Bristol, Flake, Silk Cut, Duke & Royal. 

Top 10 Cigarette Brands in India

Some smoke to deal with stress, unfavorable emotions, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. Others smoke because of peer pressure or parental influence. Smoking is also a part of our daily activities. Some smoke while pondering over a project, some, during the coffee break, and some, after meals. 

Like the reasons to smoke, the taste is also individual-specific. Some like it soft, some plain, and some, in mint and other flavors. Regardless of your reason to smoke or taste, the top cigarette brands in India have you covered. 

Note that, Worldlywiser does not endorse smoking. Our list of the top 10 cigarette brands is just for reference, based on market research, the author’s personal experience, and customer feedback. 

1. Gold Flake:

A market cap of US$2634.86 Billion, annual revenue of INR 5,433 crores, and Net Income of Rs 1,836 Crores in 2021 made Gold Flake the clear market leader in India. Come 2023, the cigarette brand stormed into the list of top 10 cigarette brands in the world with a brand value of USD 3 billion.

Gold Flake, originally owned by Stephen Mitchell & Son, became a part of Bristol’s W.D. & H.O. Wills, a subsidiary of Imperial Tobacco, in 1901. Currently, the Indian Tobacco Company (ITC) owns the brand, alongside other popular brands like Yippe, Classmate, and more. 

The cigarette brand was introduced in India in the 1960s. Gold Flake Kings, the brand’s premium offering, hit the market in 1971 and Gold Flake Kings Lights in 1999. Besides India, Gold Flake has a presence in Canada, Jamaica, North Europe, Egypt, South Africa, Malaysia, and Southeast Asia. 

The brand is popular for its smooth and mild taste and easy availability. Plus, it offers all types of cigarettes in various flavors, sizes, and prices, which also contribute to its popularity. Click for all ITC Cigarette Brands

Popular Tagline:

“Honeydew Smooth!” 


Users on Mouthshut commented: 

“Goldflake has its quality and taste that’s what is attractive about this product. The price of cigarettes is a little bit higher than expected but it will easily be available at the retailers. The tobacco used in these cigarettes is more hygienic than other cigarettes available in the market. However Goldflake cigarettes are worth buying.” 

“In Gold Flake, they put terrible quality tobacco, which smells horrendous. Their smoke is so problematic and it will in every day impact the throat.”

Popular Variants

Gold Flake (Regular) Gold Flake Kings Gold Flake Kings Lights
Gold Flake Neo Gold Flake Superstar  Gold Flake Indie Mint

2. Wills Navy Cut:

  • Introduced in India: 1963 (60 years ago) 
  • Owner: ITC Limited

Navy Cut is not just a cigarette but an emotion. Smokers, including yours truly, love its perfect balance – not too mild like Marlboro or too harsh like Four Square Premium. Its smoothness, quality, and taste are unmatched. 

Launched in 1910 in the UK, Wills Navy Cut was W.D. & H.O. Wills’ best-seller. The brand entered India in July 1963 with a filter tip at a time when unfiltered cigarettes were the norm. The brand received a makeover in 2012, three years before the launch of Navy Cut Kings.

In the 1960s, Navy Cut launched the “Made for Each Other” campaign, one of the most recognized and longest-running campaigns in advertising history. The cigarette brand introduced several limited edition packs, including the “Cricket Edition” for the 1996 Wills World Cup, and the “New Year Edition 2009,” among others. 

Other than India, you can also find Wills Navy Cut in the United Kingdom, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. 

Popular Tagline:

  • “Made for Each Other”


I used Wills Navy Cut for the last 6 years. Navy Cut is my favorite brand….

This cigarette is not at all cool stuff. The covering of the tobacco is not so good or I shall say worse….

Popular Wills Navy Cut Variants

Wills Navy Cut Regular Size Wills Navy Cut Kings

3. Wills Classic:

  • Introduced: 1979 (44 years ago)
  • Owner: ITC Limited (in India) 

Another ITC offering, Wills Classic has been around since 1979 as a king-size premium brand. In the late 1990s, it underwent a global rebranding, as the size increased from 83mm to 84mm and a diameter from 24.5mm to 24.75mm. They improved the paper quality as well. An important milestone came in 1997 with the launch of Classic Ultra Milds

While India is Wills Classic’s primary market, it has a presence in the UK, Paraguay, Hungary, Moldova, Serbia, Albania, Greece, Ukraine, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, and Australia. Imperial Tobacco manufactures it outside of India and sells it as Imperial Classic.

Wills Classic is one of the most smoked cigarette brands in India, thanks to its rich flavor profile, mild taste, great aroma, and eye-catching packaging. Derived from blue leaves, its high-quality flue-cured tobacco does not shatter during handling and burns thoroughly with each puff. 

Since it is available in menthol and tea flavors, there is a Wills Classic for every taste and need.

Popular Taglines

  • “Live Your Passion,”
  • “For Those Who Value Taste”


I feel Classics are better. They’re raw. They undergo less processing than Gold-flake and are harsher on the throat. But, they’re the best.” 

 Earlier this product had a light taste but these days I have noticed that after 2-3 puffs, it tastes bitter. Don’t know why. I think ITC should check the quality of it.” 

Popular Wills Classic Variants

Classic Regular Classic Milds Classic Ultra Milds Classic Blue Leaf Classic Verve
Classic Verve Low Smell Classic Ice-burst Classic Double Burst Classic Low Smell Classic Connect

Suggested Reading: Women’s Choice: Best Female Cigarette Brands in India

4. Four Square:

  • Introduced: 1961 (62 years ago) 
  • Owner: Godfrey Phillips India Ltd. (GPI)

If Godfrey Phillips India (GPI) is one of the leading cigarette companies, credit goes to the Four Square brand, accounting for 70-75% of its total revenue

Notably, the 69mm Four Square variant holds 55-58% market share in its category, making it one of the top cigarette brands in India. 

Indian smokers have developed a liking for Four Square’s ‘smooth yet energizing taste,’ stronger hit, double-layer filter, easy availability in 19 states, and low prices. 

Since 1961, Four Square has introduced innovations like Four Square Crush, which allows you to shift from regular flavor to clove with a simple tap on the filter. 

Popular Taglines:

  • “Live Life King Size”


I have been using Four Square cigarettes for a few years now, and it is considerably cheaper and suits me better than other brands…..” 

I love this brand because I always preferred it from the start. 2 years ago I started to smoke and the first cigarette was Four Square so from that day till now I always use this brand.

Four Square Popular Offerings

Four Square Premium Four Square Kings Four Square White Crush
Four Square Clove Crush Four Square Pan Mix Crush Four Square Special Mint
Four Square Famous Four Square Crush Slm Tech Filter   

5. Marlboro:

  • Introduced in India: 2003 (20 years ago) 
  • Owner: Philip Morris International (PMI)

Marlboro has maintained its position as the world’s best-selling brand since 1972, boasting a US market share of 43.1%. In 2020, Forbes ranked it at #25 on the list of the World’s Most Valuable Brands

As of 2023, Marlboro commands a 40% global market share and holds a brand value of $34,741 million, surpassing the combined value of the next eight top cigarette brands, as per the Centers for Disease Control.

Philip Morris International (PMI), which owns the Marlboro brand outside the USA and Canada, launched Marlboro in India in 2003. Godfrey Phillips India Ltd. manufactures and distributes the iconic brand in the Indian market.

Marlboro continues to receive a great response from quality-conscious smokers, making it one of the best cigarette brands in India. 

Featuring superior tobacco and expert blending, the brand stands out for its distinct and robust flavor, refreshing mouthfeel, exceptional smoothness, and varying levels of strength. 

Popular Taglines

  • “Mild As May”
  • “You Decide,” and ” Pursue Flavor.”
  • “You get a lot to like with a Marlboro”
  • “Come to where the flavor is. Come to Marlboro country”


Marlboro has been my cigarette of choice for about 25 years, my very first cigarette…

 C’mon #Marlboro – Lower your Prices! $8.45 for ONE PACK! They were $1.10 when I started smoking. (Unfortunately, I am still smoking)…

Marlboro Popular Offerings

Marlboro Red Marlboro Red Label Marlboro Gold Original
Marlboro Gold Marlboro Clove Mix Marlboro Gold Advance
Marlboro Fuse Beyond Marlboro Fine Touch Marlboro Compact

6. Insignia:

  • Introduced: 2003 (20 years ago) 
  • Owner: ITC Limited 

Indians seeking a premium smoking experience often prefer Insignia. Made of carefully selected and processed tobacco, the cigarette brand offers a distinctive, well-balanced flavor, a mellow draw, and a soothing aroma. 

Insignia’s high-quality, longer filter offers better filtration efficiency for a “cleaner” smoke. Add to it the matte black shoulder box packaging, and Insignia becomes a style statement.   

ITC introduced Insignia in 2003 to cater to the premium segment and counter Marlboro, launched in the same year. 

Priced at INR 100 for a pack of 20, it was India’s most expensive smoke when launched. Currently priced at INR 700, it retains this status. Read More: Most Expensive Cigarette in India 

Popular Tagline

  • “Where Quality Touches Infinity”


It’s Wills Insignia, yes I do agree that they are kinda pricey but they are worth the price. They have nice, rich, and full-bodied flavors but absolutely zero harshness. If money ain’t an object then grab a pack of Insignia.” 

 They are good but the only thing that concerns me is the MRP is 400 but they charged me 700… almost double. I don’t understand why.” 

7. India Kings:

  • Introduced
  • Owner: ITC Limited 

Made with the finest tobacco, India Kings is one of the best cigarette brands in India in the premium cigarette segment. The cigarette has an optimal fire-holding capacity and burns evenly and thoroughly due to superior flue-cured tobacco and appropriate filling value. That makes it popular among smokers seeking a great balance and flavor and an easy draw. 

The cigarette brand introduced India Kings Lights in 2002 to cater to smokers looking for milder smoke. Given the quality, the price is on the higher side with a pack of 20 sticks costing INR 360. 

Popular Tagline:

  • “Rule your World” 


The best cigarette in terms of Indian brands in India is India Kings which uses the best of tobacco and processes to give you the same smooth taste every time that is consistent from pack to pack.” 

Popular India Kings Offerings:

India Kings Rich Gold India Kings Lights 

8. Panama:

  • Introduced
  • Owner: Golden Tobacco Limited

Panama has been around for decades, delighting smokers with a strong hit, a slightly bitter taste, and low cost. It was one of the top cigarette brands in India from the 1940s to 90s and commands a loyal customer base even today. 

Golden Tobacco Limited (GTL), once “India’s largest national enterprise of its kind,” owns Panama. Established in 1930 by Narsee Monjee, GTL owns other popular cigarette brands like Flair, Chancellor, Esquire, Legend, Golden’s Gold Flake, and Burton, besides Panama. 

Its product range encompasses cigarettes, slim and super-slim cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, and tobacco. In 2007-08, GTL introduced a low-toxic cigarette, DIET BLUE, in King Size, utilizing their patented technology, ECOTINE. The cigarette company owns modern manufacturing facilities in Mumbai and Vadodara, as of 2023.  

Panama is available in a variety of flavors to support different tastes and budgets.  

Popular Taglines

  • “India’s own, your own too!” 

Popular Panama Offerings

Panama Mini Kings Special Panama Filter Panama Virginia
Panama Deluxe Filter Panama Premium Panama Menthol


The top cigarette brands in India offer distinctive flavors, superior tobacco blends, and innovative products to retain market shares and customer loyalty.

That said, cigarettes are a health hazard, causing serious conditions and deaths. With the rising awareness of health risks associated with tobacco consumption, the cigarette industry is in for a change. Worldlywiser will keep you posted on the developments as they happen. 

Till then, stay safe and quit smoking.  

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