What Is Tommy Smoking in Peaky Blinders? A Closer Look at the Iconic Cigarette Addiction of the Main Character

What Is Tommy Smoking in Peaky Blinders? A Closer Look at the Iconic Cigarette Addiction of the Main Character

What Is Tommy Smoking in Peaky Blinders? A Closer Look at the Iconic Cigarette Addiction of the Main Character

One of the defining traits of the iconic character of Tommy Shelby in the hit TV show Peaky Blinders is his constant habit of smoking cigarettes. The cigarettes that Tommy smokes throughout the show have become synonymous with his character and have captivated the attention of viewers worldwide. In this article, we will take a closer look at what Tommy Shelby is smoking in Peaky Blinders and explore the significance of his cigarette addiction.

The Cigarette Brand: Sweet Afton

The cigarettes that Tommy Shelby smokes in Peaky Blinders are a brand called Sweet Afton. Sweet Afton cigarettes were popular in the early 20th century and were known for their smooth taste and distinctive packaging. In the show, the cigarettes are portrayed as a luxury brand, often reflecting Tommy’s refined taste and his desire to project an image of sophistication.

Symbolism and Addiction

Tommy Shelby’s cigarette addiction goes beyond a mere prop or character trait. It serves as a powerful symbol of his self-destructive nature and the toll that his actions and choices have on his physical and mental well-being. The constant smoking acts as a coping mechanism for Tommy, offering him a temporary escape from the dark and dangerous world he inhabits.

The addiction to cigarettes also represents the addictive nature of power and control that Tommy relentlessly pursues. Just as he craves the taste and sensation of nicotine, he craves the power that comes with being the leader of the Peaky Blinders. The cigarette becomes a metaphorical extension of his desire to dominate and control everything around him.

A Window into the Past

Tommy Shelby’s cigarette smoking also serves as a nostalgic reminder of the time period in which the show is set. In the 1920s, smoking was a common habit and cigarettes were widely accepted and even seen as glamorous. By including the constant presence of cigarettes in the show, the creators of Peaky Blinders pay homage to the cultural norms and attitudes of the era.

The Appeal to the Audience

The cigarette addiction of Tommy Shelby has resonated with audiences and has become an integral part of his character’s identity. It adds depth to his persona and creates a sense of authenticity in the portrayal of a complex and flawed protagonist.

Additionally, the cigarette smoking scenes contribute to the overall gritty and atmospheric tone of the show. The smoke-filled rooms and the sight of Tommy Shelby exhaling smoke as he strategizes and contemplates further add to the immersive experience for viewers.

The Impact on Health

While the portrayal of smoking in Peaky Blinders may seem glamorous, it is important to note the adverse effects that tobacco consumption can have on health. Smoking is a leading cause of preventable diseases and is associated with numerous health risks, including lung cancer, heart disease, and respiratory issues.

It is crucial to separate the fictional world of the show from the reality of smoking-related health risks. Tommy Shelby’s cigarette addiction may be captivating to watch, but it is essential to stay aware of the dangers associated with smoking.


Tommy Shelby’s cigarette addiction in Peaky Blinders serves as a key element of his character, symbolizing both his self-destructive behavior and his relentless pursuit of power. The portrayal of his smoking habit offers insights into the historical context of the show, while also captivating and adding depth to the audience’s viewing experience.

However, it is vital to remember that smoking is harmful to health in reality. While we can appreciate the symbolism and artistry behind Tommy Shelby’s cigarette addiction, it is crucial to prioritize our well-being and make informed choices about tobacco consumption.


1. What brand of cigarettes does Tommy Shelby smoke?

British American Tobacco (BAT) manufactured Player’s Navy Cut cigarettes.

2. Are the cigarettes shown in Peaky Blinders historically accurate?

Yes, Player’s Navy Cut cigarettes were a popular brand during the time period in which the show is set.

3. Does Tommy Shelby smoke any other brands besides Player’s?

No, throughout the series, Tommy is exclusively seen smoking Player’s Navy Cut cigarettes.

4. How many cigarettes does Tommy typically smoke in an episode?

The number of cigarettes Tommy smokes varies from episode to episode, but he is portrayed as a heavy smoker, often seen with a lit cigarette in hand.

5. Why does Tommy Shelby smoke so much?

Smoking is often used as a character trait to portray Tommy’s rebellious and unapologetic nature. It also adds to the overall aesthetic and atmosphere of the show.

6. Were the actors actually smoking real cigarettes on set?

No, the actors typically smoke herbal or non-nicotine cigarettes during filming to minimize the health risks associated with smoking.

7. How does smoking contribute to the character development of Tommy Shelby?

Tommy’s addiction to smoking serves as a metaphor for his internal struggles and the constant chaos he must navigate. It adds to his mysterious and troubled persona.

8. Has Tommy Shelby ever tried to quit smoking?

There are no instances in the show where Tommy attempts to quit smoking, indicating that it is a deeply ingrained part of his character.

9. Does the cigarette smoking in Peaky Blinders reflect the smoking habits of the time period?

Yes, smoking was significantly more prevalent during the early 20th century, and it is depicted accurately in the show to reflect the historical context.

10. Are there any negative consequences depicted from Tommy’s heavy smoking?

While the negative health effects of smoking are not explicitly shown in the series, Tommy’s addiction to cigarettes contributes to his overall self-destructive tendencies and risky behavior.