Friday, February 19, 2010


Tobacco is the name given to the plant and cured leaves of several species of Nicotiana which may be used , commonly after aging and processing in various ways for the purpose of smoking, chewing, snuffing and extraction of nicotine. Nicotine and related alkaloids of tobacco furnish the habit forming and narcotic effects which account for general worldwide use.


It is believed that the native American Indians were the first to discover tobacco. In 1492 Christopher Columbus found that they smoked it in pipes for medicinal and ceremonial purposes. Columbus brought the tobacco leaves and seeds to Europe where farmers grew them for medicinal purposes to relax the body. In a French diplomat Jean Nicot from whose name comes from the botanical name Nicotiana and then the term “nicotine” introduced its use in France. France and Spain started smoking rolled cigarettes in 1600. Tobacco was introduced to France in1556, Portugal in 1558, Spain 1559, and England in 1565. John Rolfe, an American colonist, commercialized it in Virginia from where the famous Virginia tobacco comes in 1612. Virginia and southern states had the right climate for tobacco. America exported tobacco to England who made it popular in Europe. It however, became popular in America by 1850 only.

At first, tobacco was popular mainly for pipe smoking, chewing and snuff. Cigar did not become popular until early 1800’ s. Cigarettes which has been around in crude form since the early 1800’s, did not become widely popular in United States until the early 1600s, did not become widely popular in the United States until after the civil war, with the spread of ‘Bright’ tobacco, a uniquely cured, yellow leaf grown in Virginia and north Carolina. Cigarette sales surged again with the introduction of the ‘White Burley’ tobacco leaf and the invention of the first practical cigarette-making machine, sponsored by tobacco baron James Buchanan ‘Buck Duke’ in the late 1880’s.

Smoking became popular throughout the world as it was introduced by the English in their colonies. By 1960, researchers found that smoking was injurious to health causing lung cancer, heart disease and other illness. Cigarette manufacturers responded by reducing the tar and nicotine content of cigarettes but not enough to make it safe. Today, the anti-smoking movement has risen worldwide. Restaurants are obliged to declare themselves non-smoking establishments. Those countries still tolerant permit restaurants to have separate smoking areas.

Processing for cigarettes, pipe tobacco & cigars

Cigarettes- types and brand names

Pipe tobacco – types and brand names

Cigars- shapes, sizes, colours and brand names

Care and storage of cigarettes & cigars
All tobacco should be kept in a dry place and at even temperature. It kept in a glass case in the restaurant. Cigars are best preserved in their boxes made of cedar wood. Cigars should never be over handled for fear of breaking the outer leaf. The best temperature for storage is 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit. Moulds are set in temperature above 75 degrees. Cigars are never refrigerated as refrigeration dries and ruins the tobacco

Aging: the fermentation process that gives the tobacco leaves a sweeter, milder flavour and aroma.

Air-Curing: drying leaves using weather conditions

Cigar binder: the leaf that holds the cigar fillers together

Cigar filler: Main body of the cigar

Cigar wrapper: the outer leaf that wraps the cigar

Curing: removing sap from newly cut tobacco leaves

Fire-curing: drying leaves by low fires

Flue-curing: drying leaves through heat conveyed by ducts

Priming: picking tobacco leaves by hand

Stalk Cutting: cutting tobacco plants from the roots

Straddling: suspending bundles of tobacco leaves on poles

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