In the 1920s, adverts urged women to 'Reach for a Lucky instead of a sweet'.
In Hollywood's golden age, tobacco companies paid stars such as Clark Gable and Bette Davis to endorse their products.
In America, the popular brand Virginia Slims has a brand called Super Slims and is about to launch a sleek pink 'purse pack' aimed at women.
'Wrapping cigarettes in attractive packaging is one of the last marketing tools left for tobacco companies,' said Elspeth Lee, head of tobacco control at Cancer Research UK.
Linda Wells, editor of New York's Allure, defends the policy of her magazine.
"I feel women should be able to make their own decisions," she says "I don't like anything that feels like propaganda." Her publisher, Sandy Golinkin, agrees, saying: "There is no advertisement I have not accepted yet.
Under the age of 15 girls are more likely to smoke than boys.
Tobacco firms have tried to link smoking with slimness and glamour for nearly 100 years.
Martin Dockerell, of ASH, said: 'This has been done successfully in the States for many years and it's a relatively new development in the UK.'In the States there has been a long tradition of products marketed at women, particularly young women, with boxes that are somehow more female-friendly.'In the UK, the only legal advertising left is on the packet, so manufacturers are desperate to reach new smokers through the design of the packet.'He added: 'Packaging is extremely important marketing device and by changing the pack up can increase your market share.
They also know that smokers are highly susceptible to the packaging and the brand identity.'Silk Cut's new Super-slim purple cigarettes are thinner than conventional ones and come in a more compact box.
A young woman with a short, sassy bob looks at the camera with a knowing smile.
"Virginia Slims," reads the slogan, "it's a woman thing."Despite the recent groundbreaking case in which a Florida court ordered Brown & Williamson to pay 0,000 in damages to a 66-year-old man who had developed lung cancer, tobacco companies in the United States, and to a lesser extent the United Kingdom, are still aggressively targeting consumers through advertising.
Gallaher, the Japanese owned company that produces Silk Cut, describes its new brand, which goes on sale next month, as bringing 'elegance and quality' to the super-slim cigarette sector.