Anyway, the point is that I don't know much about cigarettes. And yet, if I have a character who smokes, I need to put the right cancer stick in his mouth. What would a forty-ish British academic smoke as a matter of habit? If Giles kept a pack stashed in his desk drawer, just in case of emergencies (or perhaps left over from a band candy accident), what brand would it be? What are the demographic signals sent off by various brands? Is he gonna smoke Silk Cuts, Benson & Hedges, or make a real stink with Gauloises?
Web searches on this are a little tough. I have to weed out all the anti-smoking propaganda. Pages like this one, with a few short cigarette reviews, are helpful. So is the wikipedia page, and its list of brands. Or great blog entries by random British smokers like this guy. I have learned, for instance, that Silk Cut is one of the big UK brands, maybe about like Marlboro is in the US. In the 70s, Camels were a bit of a tough-guy brand. Post cartoon advertising figure, however, they're not. Luckies I associate with WWII-era guys; not the generation I'm after.
Eh. It's a throwaway detail. I'd like to get it right, though.
Edit: Okay, you want my answers? The Brit academic smokes Dunhills normally, but takes what he can get. Giles got Marlboros from the convenience store when running around with Joyce (we can only hope that he paid for them), but has a three-quarters full pack of Silk Cuts tucked way back in his desk drawer.