Monday, 21 December 2009

Oh, come on.

I have noticed, over the years, a general decline in quality of rolling tobacco. All brands are guilty of this. There was a time when an occasional twig would appear in the pack and we'd just pick it out and throw it away.

Now there are great chunks of wood like the one pictured above - not occasionally, but in every pack - and if this continues we'll soon have to search through a pack of wood shavings to find enough tobacco for one cigarette.

I mean, is it too much to ask that someone out there is on our side, and that that someone could at least be the people who we have bought our tobacco from all these years?

We smokers are used to being shat on and despised by all and sundry. We are used to paying extra tax which the government then use to ban us from everywhere, even to the extent of putting 'no smoking' signs on non-enclosed bus stops in the middle of nowhere. We know we will have to go outside to smoke and that we will hear fake coughs and loud complaints while we are outside smoking, from the same people who forced us outside. We are used to hearing the health authorities pretend that every illness under the sun is caused by smoking and if you don't smoke, you're only sick because an evil smoker once blew smoke in your direction twenty years ago in an open field, a hundred yards away against a force nine gale.

We know most of the population delights in the mob mentality of the Nazi and loves to have someone to blame. It doesn't matter who they are or what you blame them for, as long as they are there to be blamed. We know it's our turn for that. Again.

But come on, tobacco companies. If you're going to treat us like dirt too, what's the point of trying any more? We could all switch to Electrofag or stop, you know. We know the 'addiction' story is a lie because many of us have experienced hours and hours in an airport departure lounge with no place to smoke and we didn't dissolve into gibbering wrecks.

We know we're not addicted. We smoke the stuff because we like it, not because we must. And no, I am not going to 'prove' I'm not addicted by 'giving up' something I enjoy. I could equally claim that anyone with a car is addicted to driving and demand they 'prove' they are not by selling their car and not having another one for a year. I have proved it on ten-hour train journeys because even with train changes, you can't smoke on the stations either. I have proved it every time I go through to departures to find my flight is delayed by hours, I can't go back outside and I can't smoke in there, on the plane or in the airport at the other end. I proved it to myself over and over, not-smoking isn't going to make me bite my nails or break out in a sweat. I see no need to prove it to anyone else.

I smoke because I find it enjoyable. That's all there is to it.

When I find a bit of a branch in the packet, that enjoyment subsides quite a lot.

Tobacco companies, we smokers are your only customers. Nobody else wants the stuff. Non-smokers have no use for it. Those who have fully gone over to Electrofag have no use for it. Is it really a good idea to piss us off every time we open a packet of tobacco?

I'm not switching to readymades. I don't like them. Electrofag is, for me, better than the readymades. It's rolling tobacco, cigars or Electrofag in that order.

If the quality of rolling tobacco keeps declining at this rate, I'll consider starting on the small cigars instead.

Maybe next year I could plant my own. I'd probably need a greenhouse, which I don't have - but I know a smoker who does.

By next year I won't even have to look for seeds. They'll be in the tobacco packets along with the stems and other junk.


Snakey said...

I think Drum is the worst culprit for great chunks of wood and those little round ends that look like they've been cut off a very small branch. Tobacco isn't cheap (although it is cheaper than tailor mades which I don't smoke anyway) and they are taking the p*ss with their 'quality control'. Next we'll get packets of sweepings off the floor as tobacco companies seem to think we'll smoke any old rope.

Mark Wadsworth said...

I've always bought Old Holborn and had noticed over the past few months that it's got drier and weaker, so much so that I end up chucking the last quarter of the packet away.

Ashtrayhead said...

My rolling tobacco of choice nowadays is Marlboro which I haven't been able to find in the UK yet, so I have to buy a few months supply when I go to Greece. The quality is always high and there are no big twigs.

Leg-iron said...

My grandfather used to smoke Franklin's but I haven't seen that for years. He used to keep a slice of apple in the tin which he claimed stopped it drying out. When I tried it, it made the tobacco taste of apple.

It did stop it drying out, but that apple taste didn't appeal.

Anonymous said...

You can also use potato to keep the tobacco moist and it doesn't make it taste funny.

Anonymous said...

That's odd because the Drum I buy in Switzerland (actually made in Holland) only rarely has twigs in it; maybe one pack in ten suffers.

Tomrat said...

Does electrofag source it's nicotine elsewhere? Would cause price to plummet certainly if they were sole consumer but it wouldn't put tobacco out of business.

You might like this dissertation on addiction:

Sure it is only half the storybut the majority in addiction studies won't go near it or it's implications.

Ryan said...

Its a shame you cant source artisan rolling tobacco like you can for pipes.

Sam Gawith stuff is always superb, not a twig in sight.

delusions said...

I'm sorry. You are addicted. You're obviously in denial. Not in Africa.
The only reason someone would stand outside a pub on a freezing wet night and inhale a horrible noxious fume is because if he didn't then he would start twitching and panicking and feeling slightly paranoid.
That is an addiction.
If I'm wrong than go for 4 weeks without a cigarette without any ill effects.

Leg-iron said...


You don't smoke.

You have decided the answer before you asked the question. If I argue in any way at all you will tell me I am in denial because you are right and anyone who disagrees is in denial of your obvious righteousness.

So what would be the point of arguing?

I smoke. I know what's involved. I know that I can survive without it because I've done it. Had to, over and over and over because of the laws and the nannying and because of people who don't smoke insisting they know better than me what it's about.

I've already gone much more than four weeks without a smoke because I was skint. When I had money again, I bought more. I'm not skint now so I'm not going to deprive myself of something I enjoy just to prove a point to someone who a) doesn't actually care at all and b) won't believe me even if I do it.

Try this. You live in a house/flat/whatever and have an income. I say you are addicted to it and cannot manage without it. Prove you are not by living for four weeks with no roof over your head and no income.

I did. For much longer than a month and in weather like this.

If you refuse, you are addicted and in denial. No other option is possible.

Now show me why your argument is different.

delusions said...

I think if something becomes so important that you are proud that you can manage without it then it shows that you depend on it.
I've watched my dad die due to smoking. Even in his last few months he still needed his woodbine to keep him going. Despite being unable to go for a piss due to is lungs not delivering enough oxygen to let him get up he had to have his hit. My mum is suffering the same fate now. Constant cough, gasping for breath after a trip to the back garden to put her washing out.
I appreciate you have suffered hardship in your life. I did 22 years in the forces and appreciate what it's like living in a cold ditch full of filthy water or if I was lucky a tent in mid winter. Since I left the forces I've worked hard to have a nice house and stay healthy. That's why I don't understand why someone would inhale filthy ciggies and pay so much for the priviledge. For a libertanian it's just madness. Paying big business to kill me off early and avoid the state having to pay for my pension and healthcare in old age. Madness.

Leg-iron said...

Smoking isn't 'important' to me any more than having the buses run on time or pub opening hours are important.

Being a smoker was never a matter of pride, nor was going without smoking. The only reason so many of us go on about it now is that it's banned from all the places we used to go.

I have no interest at all in climbing up mountains. It's dangerous and I can look at a map and see there's nothing up there. Some people like it. How would they react if it were banned?

Smoking does not define me. It's just something I like. There are risks to me but not to you or anyone else. The hype is no more than an excuse for a ban. You might just as well talk about moutain climbers dropping crampons on hikers as an excuse to ban mountain climbing.

I like whisky too. When work is intense I don't drink. Proud? Of what? I put work first and that's all it means. When the work's done I'll crack open a bottle of malt. The work I do means I can't put anything in my mouth while working, and I can't be hungover or I risk far more immediate damage than I could ever get from smoking or drinking, even if I did both continuously.

Maybe smoking will kill me. Maybe it won't. My smoking won't kill you or anyone else and neither will my drinking, my falling over on ice or my getting hit by a speeder while crossing the street. I take the risk because I like it.

Mountain climbers and bungee jumpers and racing drivers enjoy what they do and take the associated risks. I don't like doing those things so I don't do them, but why is my acceptance of risk different from theirs? They could stop any time too. Are they all addicts?

An aunt died of lung cancer many years ago, and she smoked. My father, who was her elder brother, smokes and is still alive. It's a risk, we take the risk knowing what it is and just like the racing driver who piles into the wall or the moutain climber who falls, it can hurt others when we die. We don't do that on purpose but we know it can happen.

My grandmother, who didn't smoke, lived to a ripe old age but had no idea who any of us were for the last five years of her life and was entirely dependent on nurses. Is that a better way to go? Is there any such thing as a good way to go? if you know one, say so because we all have to go at some point.

I knew people who froze to death in the street and were buried in graves with numbers on them. Old solitary homeless who just conked out one night. They didn't have the money for smoking or drugs or drinking or fatty foods or high-salt ready meals or any of the stuff alleged to be killing the middle classes. Nobody even knew their names. They also have wooden crosses with numbers on. Is that better than dying of cancer with your family around you?

Cancer is not nice. Life is not nice. We make the best of it and derive whatever enjoyment we can get. When I'm dying, I'll want one last smoke and one last whisky no matter what I'm dying of. It'll be my last chance.

I'll use Electrofag now, knowing it reduces the smoking risks by 99%, but when the time comes and I have nothing more to risk, it'll be cigars. It might be due to smoking. It might be due to drinking. It might be due to old age which is coming up fast for me. Doesn't matter. The last things I want from this life are the things I enjoyed while in it.

Houses and cars don't rate for me. I don't ever want to visit Disneyworld. Swimming with dolphins holds no interest. I'll just want a smoke and a whisky. Is that evil?

As for pensions and healthcare in old age, well, there aren't likely to be any by the time either of us get there.

opinions powered by