2. Cigarette Types

American Cigarettes: All American-type cigarettes contain flue-cured tobacco as their primary tobacco ingredient. Flue-cured Virginias range from 30% to about 80%. Most also contain burley at about a third or less, with the strongest cigarettes containing the most burley. Forty or higher percent is not unusual. The burley may be subjected to toasting, a process that lightly caramelizes some of the scant sugars of the burley, but decreases its harshness. The third ingredient frequently found in American cigarettes is one of the Orientals.

A typical recipe might be:

  • 60% – Flue-cured Virginia
  • 30% – Burley
  • 10% – Oriental

It’s worth noting that American brand cigarettes have swept away many traditional, regional, and national brands of cigarettes throughout the world. But often, these “American brands” are manufactured outside of the US, using ingredients from other sources, and in some cases, scarcely resemble their American prototypes. (Over 50% of cigarette smokers in Mexico say that they regularly smoke American brands.)

Canadian Cigarettes: Traditionally, Canadian cigarettes are mostly, if not entirely composed of flue-cured Virginia tobacco, grown in Canada. Orientals may also appear, but burley is seldom found in the blends.

Western European Cigarettes: Many western European cigarettes are notably stronger than American cigarettes. Some may contain fire-cured tobacco. Dunhill’s most popular cigarette is 100%, Virginia, while the now extinct Balkan Sobranie cigarettes contained a portion of Latakia.

Eastern European Cigarettes: Some of these are quite potent, due to their content of Rustica tobacco. They may contain stronger Orientals, as well as one of the imponderable variety of so-called Hungarian tobaccos. Most contain some burley and may be predominantly flue-cured Virginia.

Turkish Cigarettes: Pure Turkish cigarettes may contain high proportions of Oriental tobacco. Some of their famous brands would use 100% of a single Turkish varietal.