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» Different forms of tobacco

Different forms of tobacco

How is tobacco made?


Tobacco leaves are processed in different ways before they are used to make cigarettes and other products. The type of tobacco leaf used and the method of curing or drying changes how the tobacco smoke tastes and how much nicotine it contains.

  • Flue cured or dried tobacco is heated to speed the curing process. This tobacco is called bright or Virginia tobacco
  • Air-cured tobacco is called Burley or Maryland tobacco.
  • Sun-cured tobacco is called Oriental tobacco.
  • Tobacco stems and leaves can be mixed together and rolled into a sheet that is then shredded.  Sometimes tobacco is puffed or freeze dried.

Cigarettes, cigars and smokeless tobacco products are made from blends of different kinds of tobacco.

Cigarettes are made from a mixture of tobacco wrapped in a paper tube. They can be made by machines or rolled by hand. Many manufactured cigarettes have a filter.

What are low-tar cigarettes?

Low-tar cigarettes are just as bad as regular cigarettes, especially if you:

  • plug up the holes in the filter (usually you can’t see these holes)
  • inhale deeply
  • smoke a lot
What is “sauced” tobacco?

Many ingredients are added to tobacco products. Why?

  • to make the smoke seem milder or cooler (sugar, menthol oils)
  • to increase the nicotine hit (ammonia)
  • to keep cigarettes fresh (glycerol)
  • to change the taste of cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco and snuff (fruit extracts, spices, sugars, syrups, licorice and even chocolate!)
  • to control the speed of burning (inorganic salts).
What’s a plug?

A plug is chewing tobacco. It is made from chopped tobacco leaves pressed together. The plug is chewed and then spit out.

What’s snuff?

“Dipping” snuff is rough-cut smokeless tobacco—finely chopped tobacco leaves that are put between the cheek and gum. “Sniffing” snuff is dry, powdered tobacco that is put up the nose.

Are pipes and cigars safe?

Smoke from pipes and cigars can harm you too. Many people who smoke pipes and cigars do not inhale – but they have more risk of getting cancer of the lip, mouth, tongue or throat. And most people who switch from cigarettes to pipes do inhale!

Is tobacco addictive?

Yes, cigarettes and other forms of tobacco are addictive. All ways of using tobacco—cigarettes, pipes, cigars, chewing tobacco and snuff—are ways of getting nicotine into your body.

  • Nicotine works fast. When you smoke a cigarette, nicotine is absorbed quickly through the lungs and into the bloodstream. Once it is in the bloodstream, nicotine reaches the brain within seconds.
  • Nicotine in chewing tobacco and snuff is absorbed through the mucous membranes of the mouth or nose.


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