Prior to 1880 Tobacconists sold cigarettes by weight just as you might sell a pound of apples today, the first pre-formed printed paper packets did not appear until the early 1880’s when the larger companies recognised the marketing potential of printed packaging. The sale of loose cigarettes continued until the 1920’s, but printed packaging gradually took over and eventually displaced this practice, this timeline relates solely to cigarettes sold in packets and not those sold loose.
Prices remained stable for a long time between 1885 until just after the First World War when prices nearly doubled. Prices stabilised again until 1940 when the onset of war again resulted in further massive price increases. From 1945 onwards increasing tobacco duty and taxation ensured regular price increases and by 1980 this had become an annual event.
The following timeline is split into two parts, before and after the introduction of decimalization in 1971. For comparison purposes you need to understand pre-decimalisation currency.
d = One old Penny
s = One old Shilling – there are 12 pennies to the shilling
£ = One old Pound – there are 20 shillings to the pound
When expressed like this, 2/6 - it means 2 shillings and six pence
Conversion – One old penny = 0.417 new pence.