Seeing someone smoking tobacco out of a pipe isn’t a common view, unlike seeing a person with a cigarette in their mouth. Up until recently, it wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that pipes have been overthrown by cigarettes for good.
Not until recently.
As pipes are experiencing a true renaissance thanks to cannabis, people have started to appreciate this accessory when it comes to smoking tobacco as well.
If you haven’t used pipe tobacco before, you might be wondering how, on earth, is pipe tobacco any different from cigarette tobacco?
In fact, there are a few significant differences between these two.
And in this article, we’re going to leave no stone unturned to explain that difference to you in as simply as possible.
But first, let’s take a brief history class!
People Have Been Smoking Tobacco & Dry Herbs out of Pipes for Centuries
Indeed, the ritual of smoking dry herbs out of pipes dates as far back as to Ancient India, when people were smoking ground cannabis or their own herbal blends from clay pipes known as chillum.
Care for a fun fact?
Water pipes, known today as bongs, were invented and popularized by Chinese traders throughout the Silk Road.
Since the introduction of tobacco in 1492 — after Christopher Columbus brought it from America — this herb, too, was smoked in pipes.
Wood is the go-to material for most tobacco pipes, as it corresponds very well with the natural flavor of tobacco, so smoking it out of a pipe is kind of a ritual that isn’t solely about delivering nicotine to your system. It’s more about enjoying the aromas and flavors of craft tobacco strains.
The Origins of Cigarette Tobacco
Cigarette tobacco became popular in the 1800s in France upon the rise of the modern cigarette industry. The name “cigarette” is a french word to describe thin, finely cut tobacco that is then rolled into paper and finished with a filter at the back. Ever since its introduction, cigarette tobacco has become one of France’s most desired export goods, quickly being sold all across Europe.
However, rolled tobacco was known long before the Bohemian Revolution. In the 9th century, the Mayan people were smoking tobacco as part of their ritual, using thin, paper-like exterior of corn as their rolling sheet for the job.
Nowadays, cigarette tobacco is sold everywhere. This cash crop brings billions of revenue to cigarette companies all over the world, although the popularity of cigarettes has been slowly decreasing as vapes are making big headlines as the healthier alternative to smoking tobacco.
What’s the Difference Between Pipe Tobacco and Cigarette Tobacco?
Cigarette and pipe tobacco are both made from the dried leaves of Nicotiana Tabacum. Therefore, the source plant is the same for both products, but there are also a few differences between them that we need to highlight.
1. Pipe Tobacco and Cigarette Tobacco Are Cut Differently
Similar to how you smoke other dry herbs, using a pipe calls for a coarsely cut material than making a cigarette. When you grind your tobacco too finely, it can pass through the mouthpiece as you light it up in your pipe, ending right in your throat — which is anything but pleasant.
On the other hand, if you tried to pack a cigarette with pipe tobacco, you’d have something that’s difficult to burn and, what’s worse, burns unevenly, producing too much waste.
So there you go:
Pipe tobacco = coarse cut
Cigarette tobacco = fine cut
Now, let’s talk about another serious difference.
2. There’s a Difference in the Chemical Makeup of Pipe Tobacco and Cigarette Tobacco
There’s a reason why cigarette tobacco is cheaper, especially if you buy commercially available cigarettes. They come with many additives, many of which are often dangerous for your health, as if the concentration of carcinogens in tobacco smoke wasn’t enough.
If you want to smoke cigarette tobacco, we recommend using organic products that can be found in specialty stores or head shops. Such tobacco is free of the above additives and should make your cigarettes smell and taste better.
Not to mention the obvious fun from hand-rolling your own cigs.
Pipe tobacco, on the other hand, is much cleaner and offers a more pleasant experience, which is why it also costs more than chemically enhanced cigs.
3. Cigarette Tobacco is Filtered, Pipe Tobacco Isn’t
This time we actually have to give one point to cigarette tobacco.
Cigarettes usually come with filters so that you don’t inhale as many harmful substances as you would without them. If you smoke your tobacco in this form — but you roll your own cigs — then you’re technically choosing a healthier consumption method.
Pipes don’t have filters, unless you’re using a bubbler pipe for dry herbs. But when you smoke out of a regular wooden sherlock pipe, you get exposed to more toxins from the smoke.
4. Pipe Tobacco Smells and Tastes Better than Cigarette Tobacco
Because pipe tobacco is more natural than cigarette tobacco, it generally carries more pleasant aroma that people enjoy. Although a lot of people smoke cigarettes, their aroma often repels second-hand smokers, which is less common among those who smoke their tobacco out of a pipe.
Cigarette tobacco typically offers two flavor options: natural and menthol. The menthol flavor is often chemically enhanced.
With pipe tobacco, you’ll find that there are more nuances in its taste; the flavors are rich and more complex, often including notes of whiskey, cognac, wintergreen, or apple. But more importantly, these flavors are natural.
5. Cigarette Smokers Inhale their Tobacco, which Isn’t Always the Case for Pipe Smokers
Of course, there are many people who inhale the smoke from their pipes, but a lot of smokers refrain from doing so, enjoying the smoke only in their mouth and focusing on its aromas and flavors.
With cigarette tobacco, the main goal is to swiftly deliver nicotine to one’s system, so inhalation is the name of the game.
Some people argue that cigarettes look more elegant than pipes. Well, as they say: beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.
How do you smoke your tobacco — in a pipe or in a cigarette? Let us know in the comments!