Joi Ito's Web

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Posted by Thomas Crampton

Did a story on the closure of the last factory producing the famed pungent Gauloises brunes cigarettes.

In reporting, I noticed that many of the tobacco shops in Paris are called La Civette. I asked a French colleague and here is her theory.

Disgusting footnote: People smoked musk? Sounds even worse than brown tobacco!!!

A "civette" is a shop selling tobacco and especially cigars. The name comes from a famous, fashionable shop which was on the rue St Honoré in the XIX century. It is not clear why that shop was called La Civette. Either because (one of) the founders' name was Civet, or because in these days snuff tobacco was laced with civette, the secretion produced by the animal of the same name. (I don't know what civette, the animal, is called in English, but civette, the secretion, is musk).

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That's the civet cat in English... if you think smoking musk is disgusting, though, Joi, did you know that people drink coffee brewed from coffee beans these animals eat and then poop out? I'm sure somebody in Japan sells "Kopi Luwak" coffee beans...

On top of that, they eat their meat in China... you might recall that's where they think SARS came from; a virus in the civets transmitted to humans who ate the meat...

Hello Thomas,
It is not clear from the article whether only Gauloises Brunes are being dicontinued or the entire brand? There are of course Gauloises Blondes, Rouges et Bleus.

I recently quit smoking, but I actually just enjoyed a Rouge just a few hours ago with a beer here in Montreal (where new laws go into effect very soon banning smoking in all restaurants and bars). Of all the smokes I've had in my life, the Gauloises were the nicest... If there is such a thing as a "nice" cigarette. ;)

Boris, I didn't realise Montreal was behind the rest of the country banning smoking in bars.. they're even talking about banning it on the patios, or even within 10 feet of a restaurant here in Vancouver, apparently. Oddly though, nobody bats an eye if you walk down the street with that _other_ type of smokable leaf product... :)

Don't worry Boris, they are only halting production of the Gauloises brune in France. Production of the cigarette continues in Spain, where dark tobacco still has fans. Production of all other styles of the cigarette (blonde, rouge, etc) remain unchanged.

Take off that nico-patch, your supply is assured!

Cam: the running joke in Montréal is that there will be bloody riots if they ever try to forbid smoking in bars/cafés here. That is what they are doing though, apparently (forbidding smoking that is, not yet rioting... ;)

Thomas: thnx for the clarification. i was just curious. No patch here. No need. :)

Boris: The anti-smoking laws in France, as I understand it, have long made smoking illegal in restaurants, but bar and restaurant owners have the option of designating a smoking section. The result has been that they designate nearly the entire venue a smoking section, apart from the space next to the toilets!

Ireland is amazing: The banning of smoking in pubs has actually been enforced and respected and it has created the extra benefit of encouraging restaurants to add outdoor tables. The country now has a new Mediterranean-style street life outside restaurants.

Thomas: the street cafe life here in Vancouver is similar... not sure if it's because of the smoking ban or just because we have the mildest climate in Canada, as I moved here after it became illegal to smoke in restaurants. I love it though; they even have heaters out for then the temperature dips below 10 degrees C in the winter months... sometimes the patio is warmer than the drafty insides of some places.

Boris: I understand that Montreal and Quebec in general has a higher smoking rate than the rest of the country, but when push comes to shove, I'm sure people will "butt out". Even standoffish Albertans have pretty much accepted the smoking ban there, and I understand that it even covers the outdoors parts of restaurants. (not that patios in Edmonton or Calgary are usable more than two months out of the year! :) )

Hi everybody. They were not actually **smoking** musk. Musk was an additive to snuff tobacco, to make it smell better... And I don't know what is the most disgusting, musk or snuff ! But humans do lots of disgusting things, don't they ? Compared with some eating or behavorial habits, smoking does not come out that bad after all ;-)

Civet cat is, I believe another name for polecat, which is another name for skunk.

A Montreal, si on fume plein des gauloises dans une chambre fermee, ca sent la moufette .. non ?

I think Civet is the name of the cat and also the name of the secretion (ugh!). The cat secretes this musk apparently in reaction to fear. It is the main ingredient in high-end perfumes. I've also heard of the poop coffee beans. But then Swallows Nest (a Chinese delicacy which I have had) is mostly swallow saliva and mud, I think.

After all, the Romans used to brush their teeth in urine. . .

Actually, Jun, the Romans _based_ it on urine. Urine contains ammonia, which bleaches. See also

Urine!!! I will forever think of Colgate and Crest in a different way.

Urine may bleach teeth white, but I have been told that chewing Betel nuts (Which turns teeth pitch black) serves to protect them.

I'll never try this cigars...)) Java Developer

Production of the cigarette continues in Spain, where dark tobacco still has fans. Production of all other styles of the cigarette (blonde, rouge, etc) remain unchanged.