Tobacco Products

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Tobacco Products


smoking products, snuff, and chewing tobacco made from plants belonging to the genus Nicotiana. Smoking products include papirosy (Russian-type cigarettes with a long cardboard mouthpiece), cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, pipe tobacco, and other smoking tobaccos. In the manufacture of tobacco products tobacco leaves are converted into a fibrous mass, which is stuffed into paper tubes to make papirosy, rolled in cigarette paper to make cigarettes, or rolled in tobacco leaves to make cigars and cigarillos. Snuff is produced from makhorka (Indian tobacco) leaves that have been ground into a fine powder and scented. Chewing tobacco is produced from finely cut tobacco leaves, to which such flavorings as menthol are added.

Of the total amount of tobacco products consumed in the USSR in 1974, cigarettes accounted for about 67 percent (by weight) of the tobacco used; papirosy, for 28 percent; and smoking makhorka, for less than 5 percent. Four grades of tobacco products are manufactured in the USSR; they are distinguished according to quality (strength, taste, and aroma), size (total length, length of smoking part, and diameter), type of packaging (box or pack), and other criteria. As shown in Table 1, the quality of the tobacco depends on its composition. Higher grades of tobacco products contain less nicotine but more tars and essential oils; these oils give the tobacco its scent and the smoke its aroma. Filter-tip cigarettes are produced in order to reduce the content of nicotine, tars, and other harmful substances in the smoke. Filters are made from acetate fiber for top-quality cigarettes and from special paper for first-grade cigarettes. Filters reduce the nicotine content of smoke by 25–30 percent; acetate filters reduce the tar content by 30–50 percent, and paper filters reduce the tar content by 10–20 percent.

Table 1. Average chemical composition of tobacco in tobacco products (in percent)
Product gradeNicotineCarbohydratesProteinsTars
Top ..............0.8–1.38.5–13.58.4–95.9–6.6
First ..............1.4–1.56.2–6.59.4–9.85.4–5.8
Second ..............1.5–1.64.2–4.610.2–10.65.4–5.7
Third ..............1.6–1.82.6–410–125.4–5.7

Tobacco products have a moisture content of 12–15.5 percent. This amount corresponds to the best conditions for smoking or storing the products on premises with a relative humidity of 65–70 percent. Since tobacco products are hygroscopic and readily absorb foreign odors, they are packed in paper-backed foil and cellophane.

Per capita consumption of tobacco is substantially lower in the USSR than in other countries. In 1974, by weight of tobacco in products, per capita consumption was about 1,400 grams in the USSR, as compared with more than 3,000 grams in the USA. Smoking is a form of drug addiction. In a number of countries, such as the USSR, the USA, and Great Britain, educational work is conducted on the dangers of smoking. The advertising of tobacco products is prohibited in some countries.


Tkach, A. G. Spravochnik tabachnika, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1974.


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