Being an editorial assistant, the kind of tasks I am required to do every day are not always the most exciting. But, unexpectedly, getting all the props for a magazine’s cover photo shoot turned out to be the highlight of a week of fact-checking and research.
I was on the hunt for Iranian cigarettes, two packets, possibly of different brands. Now, London is a world famous melting pot, a mix of cultures, flavours, colours, languages and I could go on. But if you haven’t been living here long enough to possess an in-depth knowledge of its neighborhoods and districts, who lives where and who sells what and, most importantly - again - where, Google may be your only resource in finding a not-so-common product. Hence my research for Iranian smokes started off from there, the almighty king of web searches.
By typing in “Bahaman” - a brand of cigarettes produced in Iran - I was redirected to a curious website I had never heard of. To cut it short - it is called CigarettesPedia and, as the name may suggest, it is a sort of encyclopedia/Wikipedia (because it’s free and its content is put together by contributors from all around the globe, among them the Italian Orazio Rocchi) of cigarettes. An online database listing more than 30,000 unique articles and images. Basically, a cigarettes’ archive. It is valued around $12,444 by www.valuethewebsite.com and was launched in 2006 in California. Currently, it has “the fullest free collection of cigarette boxes, invaluable information about cigarette brands, history of their appearance and the manufacturers,” according to its creators.
It has a section dedicated to cigarettes collectors and/or experts around the world and links to their websites. Another sub-category you can browse through is “Manufacturers”, where cigarettes are listed alphabetically by maker. A curious section is the one called “Cigarettes Humor”, presenting a series of quite random and honestly weird pictures like this one. It is a pretty rudimentary website but just something else I didn’t know.