The legendary Sante cigarettes are no longer in production after 85 years. The characteristic flat-box package with the drawing of a blonde woman had become a cult object in Greece.
In fact Sante was so popular among avid smokers that it had made “cameo appearances” in Greek movies and became the subject of a book in which 15 famous Greek writers have written a story based around the popular filterless cigarettes.
Philip Morris, the tobacco company that currently owns the brand, has decided to withdraw it from the market. There has been no official reason given, yet there is speculation that the company stopped production due to poor sales in recent years. A company spokesperson said the blend was of excellent quality, albeit rather heavy (0,7 mg nicotine, 18 mg tar).
Cigarette kiosks have not received any information from the tobacco company regarding the decision.
Sante cigarettes were patented in 1931 by the Constantinou Bros company and hit the market with remarkable success.
The first flat-box package had a drawing of a woman who smokes. On the package it reads: “Ministry of Economy Patent no. 2373” and “Certificate of the Laboratory of the National University that contains minor nicotine no. 2373”.
The company has commissioned a painter to design the package with the face of a beautiful woman who smokes. For years, smokers all over Athens were wondering and discussing who is the mysterious woman. Some said it was the lover of the man who made the drawing, others that she was a prominent Athenian woman of the time. Finally, it became known that the picture was of actress and dancer Zozo Dalmas.
In the late 1990s the brand name was acquired by Papastratos tobacco company, when the company was still under Greek ownership. In 2003, Philip Morris bought Papastratos. Recent smoking laws forced the new owners to change the name to Zante so it would not be confused with the Spanish word “sante” which means “health”.