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From the field to the tobacco pouch – how rolling tobacco is produced

The tobacco plant originated in South and Central America and has been smoked for centuries by the indigenous peoples of these regions. Now, tobacco is also grown in southern Germany and in South-eastern Europe, where the mild, relatively damp climate offers good growing conditions. The tobacco leaves are harvested by hand in several stages and then hung in ventilated halls to dry, where they become light brown in colour over time.  The dried tobacco leaves are then delivered to tobacco factories and processed into cigarettes, pipe tobacco or rolling tobacco. 


How does cigarette tobacco differ from rolling tobacco?

Whereas cigarettes are produced directly from the cut and blended tobacco leaves, for fine-cut tobacco the leaves are first dampened and then the stems are removed. The remains of the leaves are steamed and flavoured before they are rolled out and cut into very fine strips. Rolling tobacco, or shag, as it is often called, has longer fibres than cigarette tobacco and feels damper. In earlier times, there were three different tobacco strengths:

  • Zware Shag (heavy shag): very dark colour and intensive aromas
  • Halfzware Shag (medium heavy shag): light brown in colour, aromatic taste, very common in Europe
  • Lichte Shag (light shag): light colour and light taste – but not necessarily less nicotine than the other varieties

Since a change in the law in 2003, the description “light” is prohibited when describing tobacco products, and so too are the traditional descriptions halfzware and lichte, a relic of the Netherlands’ former monopoly of fine cut tobacco. Nowadays, popular tobacco varieties are American shag, Turkish or Virginia, which you can also pre-order online in the Heinemann Shop. 


Purchase tobacco, cigarettes and much more online – as an airline passenger with Heinemann

In addition to the classic tobacco blends that are distinguished by an intensive taste and smell, more and more tobaccos without additives have been coming onto the market for a few years now. They promise authentic tobacco enjoyment without aromatics or burning aids, and are ideal for an urban, environmentally and health-conscious lifestyle. In addition to high-quality tobacco from international brands, Heinemann also has cigarette papers and filters – so you can conveniently order everything online that you need to enjoy smoking.

With the Heinemann Pre-Order service, the ordered items – tobacco products, fragrances, spirits and delicacies – can be ready and waiting for you in the Heinemann Shop at the airport on the day of your departure: you can collect your gifts simply and quickly – without having to worry about customs or payment.