What are cigarettes made from today?

What are cigarettes made from today

What are cigarettes made from today?

Cigarette contents are of interest to the smoking public.

The belief in chemical fillings, various surrogates like reconstituted tobacco, and even the idea that there is no tobacco in cigarettes has become widespread.

No wonder many old smokers miss the cigarette products from the past and criticize cigarettes nowadays as chemical things.

Well, in my opinion, it is truly not a good time for smokers. Let’s try to figure out the contents of the cigarettes today.

contents of cigarettes

contents of cigarettes

Tobacco giants have the answers.

However, Philip Morris, Japan Tobacco International, British American Tobacco, and Imperial Tobacco only give limited information.

After all, the tobacco industry has always been called the most opaque and secretive.

Now let’s see what I got from their websites.

For example, the article “Myths and Reality”, published by BAT:

“The main component of each of our cigarettes is tobacco. Ingredients in tobacco products have been used for many centuries. Today, food ingredients are added to tobacco to achieve a balanced natural tobacco taste, in simple terms, to replace the sugars lost during the drying process of tobacco leaves after harvesting. Other ingredients serve technological functions, such as regulating moisture, protecting against microbial effects, and ensuring better blending of the tobacco mixture.”

Other manufacturers list the contents of cigarettes.

On the site of PMI, you can find out the data for each brand.

For example, Marlboro Red:

  • Tobacco – 54.7%
  • Filter – 16.7%
  • Water – 7.4%
  • Filter wrapping paper – 6.5%
  • Cigarette paper – 4.3%
  • Sugar (sucrose) – 2.8%
  • Mouthpiece paper and ink – 3.8%
  • Filter adhesive – 1%
  • Glycerin – 1.4%
  • Propylene glycol – 0.476%
  • Licorice extract – 0.315%
  • Guar gum – 0.281%
  • Side seam adhesive – 0.085%
  • Cocoa and cocoa products – 0.067%
  • Carob beans and extract – 0.053%
  • Natural and artificial flavorings – 0.001%

The composition is not a horror. Glycerin and propylene glycol are moisturizers and also the main components in vapes. Guar gum is a thickener used in the food industry.

As you can see from the manufacturer’s data, there is tobacco in cigarettes, but whether it is reconstituted, some other form or pure leaf is not specified.

Interesting data can be found on the international website of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (brands like Camel, Kent, and Lucky Strike for the US market). The ingredients are similar: besides tobacco, there is glycerin, propylene glycol, licorice, sweeteners, and other additives. However, they also list diammonium phosphate and sometimes ammonium hydroxide. These are ammonia compounds that are believed to convert nicotine into a more potent “freebase” form (ammonia is naturally present in tobacco).

Burning Cigarette

Burning Cigarette

If you think about it, it becomes clear that there are many nuances.

The main factors are the price of cigarettes, overall quality, and smokers’ habits. Manufacturers consider these factors.

Let’s see another example: the Natural American Spirit cigarettes.

Pack of 20 'Natural American Spirit' Light Filter Cigarettes (cigarettes)

Pack of 20 ‘Natural American Spirit’ Light Filter Cigarettes (cigarettes)

They are marketed as a product without additives, reconstituted tobacco, or tobacco stems. The brand was created by enthusiasts in 1982. The price of cigarettes was set at a high level, but success followed. Later on, international giants acquired the brand. Today, Natural American Spirit cigarettes are priced at the level of Marlboro and Parliament and face traditional accusations, such as ammonia content.

However, followers of the Natural American Spirit did not experience the same success. For instance, not long ago, the US Tobacco Cooperative, which unites farmers, launched the production of completely natural (tobacco and water only!) premium cigarettes called Manitou (I’m not sure about their connection to the German Manitou). The cigarette market, to put it mildly, was not captured. There are complaints that they burn quickly.

Manitou cigarettes from the US

Manitou cigarettes from the US


Manitou cigarettes from Germany

Manitou cigarettes from Germany

In conclusion, cigarettes are still typically made from a blend of tobacco leaves. The exact composition of cigarettes can vary depending on the brand and type of cigarette, but the main components include:

  1. Tobacco: The primary ingredient in cigarettes is dried and processed tobacco leaves. Different types of tobacco and blends are used to create various flavors and strengths.
  2. Additives: Tobacco companies may add various additives to enhance the taste, aroma, and burning characteristics of cigarettes. These additives can include flavorings, humectants, preservatives, and other chemicals.
  3. Paper: The tobacco blend is wrapped in a paper tube that serves as the cigarette’s outer casing. The paper may have small bands of glue to keep the cigarette sealed.
  4. Filter: Many cigarettes have filters at the end, which are usually made of cellulose acetate. Filters are designed to reduce the amount of tar and nicotine that smokers inhale.

In any case, today, you can try dozens of new tobacco products and find what suits you most.

It is possible to find cigarettes that are marketed as additive-free products (for example, Pepe from the German company Von Eieken). It is also possible to smoke high-quality loose tobacco for hand-rolling RYO (roll-your-own), which will be more organic than mass-market premium cigarettes and contain minimal tobacco surrogates. Alternatively, one can back to the old days, and smoke a pipe, just like Frodo Baggins.

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