ECONOMICS: The Age of the Cigaret

Wherever there were Americans, Europe had a new medium of exchange, subject to all the lamentable fluctuations that affect legal tender. The medium: cigarets.

In Italy the departure of U.S. troops had cut the supply of cigarets to the point where a cigaret currency crisis had set in. The value of a carton was as erratic as that of a lira. Enterprising Italians were doing their best to restabilize by "importing" cigarets by mass smuggling.

In France, where smuggling was somewhat less effective, cigarets (worth $15 U.S. a carton) were an international language....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!