Tobacco Industry

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Tobacco Industry


the branch of the food-processing industry that procures raw tobacco, ferments tobacco, and manufactures tobacco products (see).

The first tobacco factories were built in England and the Netherlands in the 17th century. The origins of the tobacco industry in Russia date back to the first quarter of the 18th century, when tobacco factories were established in St. Petersburg and the Ukrainian village of Akhtyrka. By 1860 the number of enterprises reached 551. A new type of tobacco product— papirosy (Russian-type cigarettes with a long cardboard mouthpiece)—was developed in Russia. By the end of the 19th century the concentration of production had increased; the number of enterprises had been reduced by half, but the output of papirosy and other products had risen by a factor of several tens. At the same time, the foundations were laid for standardization, that is, the manufacture of products in conformity with standard models. Cigarette-making machines, machines for filling papirosy, and mechanized shredders were developed and introduced into production. In 1914 a large monopoly known as the St. Petersburg Export-trade Joint-stock Company was organized; it owned 13 tobacco factories in St. Petersberg, Moscow, Rostov-on-Don, and Feodosia. The enterprises of this company manufactured 56 percent of the tobacco products, including 75 percent of the papirosy, made in Russia.

In prerevolutionary Russia the tobacco industry manufactured products made primarily from makhorka, or Indian tobacco (Nicotiana rustica), and production was characterized by a low level of mechanization and the widespread use of manual labor. After the October Revolution of 1917 the tobacco factories were nationalized. During the Civil War of 1918–20 the output of tobacco products was temporarily reduced. The manufacture of products made from makhorka attained the prerevolutionary level in 1926, and that of products made from common tobacco (N. tabacum) reached the prerevolutionary level in 1928. In the late 1920’s mechanization was intensified; machines for packaging papirosy and makhorka were introduced, and a tobacco fermentation industry was organized. In 1927 the world’s first tobacco fermentation plant was constructed in Krasnodar. The production of cigarettes was also begun in this period. During the Great Patriotic War of 1941–45, factories were established in the Volga region, the Urals, and Siberia on the basis of evacuated enterprises, and the enterprises in Middle Asia were expanded.

By the early 1950’s tobacco enterprises that had been destroyed were rebuilt on a new technological basis. The tobacco industry adopted production-line methods to manufacture tobacco products, and mechanized production lines for the manufacture of papirosy and the preparation of cigarette tobacco were established. Automatic programmed control of air-curing processes, production lines for processing before fermentation, and facilities for the continuous fermentation of tobacco were introduced at tobacco fermentation plants. The production of cigarettes, including filter-tip cigarettes, increased. Many factories producing makhorka, which is not used in manufactured papirosy and cigarettes, were reequipped for the manufacture of these products. The output of various tobacco products in the USSR is shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Output of tobacco products in the USSR
1 Common tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum)
Papirosyand cigarettes (billion units) ...............24.5102.5364.3
Smoking tobacco1 (thousand tons) ...............11.926.11.2
Smoking makhorka (thousand tons) ...............87.392.115.5

As of 1975 the USSR was the third largest producer of tobacco products in the world. Enterprises that manufacture papirosy and cigarettes are located in nearly all the Union republics, and tobacco fermentation plants are found in the southern regions of the USSR. Among the largest tobacco enterprises are the Uritskii Leningrad Factory, the Don State Tobacco Factory in Rostov, the lava and Dukat factories in Moscow, and the Krasnodar and Kishinev combines.

From 1951 to 1975 the annual output of the average tobacco factory increased from 2.9 billion to 7.9 billion papirosy and cigarettes. Large plants accounted for more than 72 percent of the output in tobacco fermentation. Labor productivity increased by 36.4 percent from 1971 to 1975. In 1975 the number of employees in the industry was 46,300.

In 1975, 286,700 tons of raw tobacco were procured in the USSR. From 1965 to 1975 the amount of tobacco procured in the USSR increased by 103,000 tons, and the area under cultivation increased by 45,000 hectares.

The world production of cigarettes in 1973 was 3.570 trillion. About 70 percent of the cigarettes were produced in 11 countries: the USA, the People’s Republic of China, the USSR, Japan, the Federal Republic of Germany, Great Britain, Brazil, France, Poland, Italy, and India.

Among the socialist countries, the tobacco industry of Bulgaria has developed especially rapidly; between 1960 and 1975 cigarette production in that country increased from 10 billion to 71.4 billion. For other socialist countries cigarette production in 1975 was as follows: 83.6 billion in Poland, 28.8 billion in Rumania, 24.5 billion in Hungary, 23.0 billion in Czechoslovakia, and 19.9 billion in the German Democratic Republic.

Of the capitalist countries the USA has the most highly developed tobacco industry. Cigarette production in 1973 was 616 billion, of which 99 percent were manufactured by the six leading companies. The USA also produced 25,000 tons of smoking tobacco, 33,000 tons of chewing tobacco, 11,000 tons of snuff, and 11.4 billion cigars.


Liubimenko, V. Tabachnaia promyshlennost’ v Rossii. Petrograd, 1916.
Rudnev, M. M., and V. I. Kopylov. Ekonomika, organizatsiia i planirovanie tabachnogo proizvodstva. Moscow, 1971.
Sivolap, N. K. Uroveni proizvodstva i tekhnika tabachnoi promyshlennosti v SSSR i za rubezhom. Moscow, 1972.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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