Today we’re going to learn how to grow tobacco, how to cure tobacco and even how to make pipe tobacco at home.
(For even more info on growing tobacco from seed, check this booklet out.)
For the last few decades, we’ve been told smoking is the cause of everything from lung cancer to heart disease.
There doesn’t seem to be any middle ground in this debate. If you’re a smoker, you’re an outcast… a pariah… a Very Bad Person.
However, the truth about smoking isn’t nearly as cut and dried as you might think. Did you know that lung cancer rates rose even as smoking declined? Or that some studies showed longer life expectancies for pipe smokers than for non-smokers?
Strange but true. (Just don’t ask me for the documentation right now, ‘cause I used it to roll my own.)
Wherever you fall on the smoking spectrum, there’s one thing that’s sure: smoking isn’t going away. And this presents an opportunity for the hard-core prepper.
Why Grow Tobacco?
A lot of folks need their daily nicotine. Business gurus will tell you that meeting needs is a great way to profit. Though you can’t legally sell your own homemade cigarettes right now, there may come a day when regulations fly out the window and the free market takes over again. Even if it doesn’t, being the guy that has what people need is a great place to be.
Imagine shipping gets shut down, or the cost of tobacco shoots to the stratosphere due to regulation or the rising cost of fertilizers or any of a number of reasons.
Even if you’re not a smoker, having some tobacco around could be very useful.
Say you have a nice tobacco patch in your yard that you grow each year. Your friend needs a smoke really bad. You want help on a fence, you trade him some leaves and bingo: that tobacco patch has paid for itself.
Sounds pretty smart, right?
“But,” you may ask, “How in the world do you grow tobacco? I know nothing about the plant other than the fact that it smells like burning manure? Dave! Help me! I’ll trade you some .22LR rounds and a can of beans!”
Alright… because you asked so nicely… and because I’m hungry… and because .22LR is roughly equivalent to gold bars these days… I’ll help you start growing your own tobacco.
How To Grow Tobacco
Growing tobacco is pretty easy. I’ve grown tobacco for almost a decade in my home garden. Though my method may not be the best, it works well for me and has been tweaked over the years into a pretty fail-safe operation. You need a few things, but all of them are really easy to find (with the exception of seed).
Tobacco seed (available on Amazon!)
Plastic wrap (optional)
To get started, you need seeds or transplants. If you live in tobacco country, you might be able to buy some transplants locally; otherwise, you need to seed your own.
Unfortunately, starting tobacco from seed isn’t the easiest thing in the world – yet it’s not as tough as you might think.
Tobacco seeds are even smaller than poppy seeds and will get you in less trouble. A pinch of them contains hundreds of potential plants.
Because of their minute size, they need to be planted differently than most other seeds. To add an extra layer of fun, they also need light for germination – and when they do germinate, the seedlings are really, really tiny. This is why it’s really difficult to direct-seed tobacco in your garden. Chances are, the sun will wipe your plants out before they develop into anything – even if you have a totally perfect little square foot bed – so instead of planting them right in the soil, it makes sense to start them in carefully managed flats.
These flats can be made from just about anything. I used to use egg cartons but I found that the soil in them dried out too quickly so I switched to using home-made wooden flats that are about 4” deep.
To plant tobacco, prepare a fine soil surface in your flat or container, make sure it’s good and damp, and then simply sprinkle the tiny seeds across it. Mist your seeds with your spray bottle, and make sure the flats are in the shade – if they’re not, you may dry out the soil and kill the plants before they emerge.
If you live in an arid climate, you might want to cover your flats with some plastic wrap to keep in moisture. To avoid mold problems, I’d take the plastic off once a day and mist the ground when I did. If you don’t cover with plastic, try and remember to mist your flats about twice a day or anytime you think of it. (If they do dry out a bit, don’t freak out. Moisten them well and keep your fingers crossed. I’ve had tobacco pull through even when I’ve been less than religious about my watering. That said, do your best!)
In about 10-14 days, you should see tiny seedlings begin to emerge from the soil. They’re so small you almost need a magnifying glass to see them at first.
Within a week or two, your tobacco seedlings will get bigger – and in a month or so, they’ll likely be an inch or so in height. As the seedlings grow, I thin out the flat with a pair of scissors, decapitating unwanted plants rather than pulling them out and disturbing the roots of their neighbors. Give each little plant its own space and their growth rate will be much higher.
When your plants get about 2-3” tall, transplant them to a second flat until they’re large enough to transplant – or, if your weather is mild and the sun isn’t too brutal, put them directly out into the garden. I usually wait until they hit about 6” before placing them in the garden, but I’ve had good luck with smaller plants as well.
Once tobacco is transplanted, it grows really fast. Feed it compost, manure or whatever you have available. I’ve had them do okay in poor sand, but they do amazingly if they get a little more care. In a couple of months, your plants will be huge. At this point, you can start picking nice leaves. Watch out for hornworms, though – they’ll take a tobacco plant to pieces really quickly. Other than those, you’ll deal with minor pests like aphids, but overall, I don’t get too much loss. If leaves get chewed up, they go in my “pipe and cigarette” tobacco pile, if they’re broad and intact, they go in my “attempt to make cigars again” pile.
After a few months, depending on your climate and average temperatures, your tobacco will burst into bloom.
The flowers are pretty and resemble their cousin the petunia. Commercial tobacco farmers remove the buds to force larger leaf growth, but I keep them for seed and because, well, they look nice.
For an in-depth video on growing tobacco, check out this one I made a couple of years ago.
How To Cure Tobacco
Now here’s the artistic part of this whole odyssey: curing. People will tell you it’s “not worth growing tobacco because it’s a pain to cure.”
However, it all depends on what you’re looking for. If you want a smoke, all you need to do is dry and smoke the leaves. I used to park my car in the sun with the windows cracked open and spread leaves all across its dashboard.
One afternoon in the sun and they were nice and crispy.
I’ve also hung leaves in the barn for a year to dry and cure (those tasted better than the dashboard leaves.)
If you’re used to the taste of cigarettes, know this: that taste isn’t what raw natural tobacco tastes like. It’s a product of factories and flavor sprays and special blends. The taste of raw tobacco is smoky, grassy, biting… and yet still enjoyable.
If you’re more of a cigar smoker, you may not ever be happy with your homegrown smokes. Curing cigar tobacco is an art, much like wine-making. It can most definitely be done, but it’s beyond the scope of this article.
How To Make Pipe Tobacco
Let’s look at how to make pipe tobacco at home like a redneck.
I’ve found it’s possible to make a pretty good Latakia/English pipe blend imitation by taking dry leaves, soaking them in water and molasses, then putting a basket of them in the smoker for a day. I used hickory chips, which I’m sure is totally wrong, but it tasted great.
Like smoking a pipe of beef jerky.
After taking the whole leaves from the smoker, I cut them into little bits with a pair of scissors, then let them dry to a good smokeable moisture content. Not bad at all.
If you’re more of a “Captain Black” smoker, you’ll have to look around for pipe tobacco flavoring – I haven’t been able to make a decent aromatic blend from my homegrown leaves, though I’ve used black cherry juice concentrate, vanilla and other experimental flavorings from my wife’s collection of spices.
Speaking of spices, if you like smoking cloves, you’re in luck. A decent clove mixture can be made by simply taking dried tobacco, sprinkling it with ground cloves, then rolling that in your wrapping paper of choice.
Been there, done that, got a numb mouth.
How to Make Chewing Tobacco
Here’s a simple way to make chewing tobacco at home:
Note: the leaves I used were way too dry and shredded – this will work a lot better with bigger leaves instead of shreds.
A Final Puff
Yes, it’s true that tobacco has earned some of its deadly reputation – yet if you really want to talk about a health crisis, you should talk about sugar/high-fructose corn syrup and obesity.
The very people that often condemn smokers don’t seem to realize that their diets of processed foods and Coke aren’t any better than putting away a few packs of cigs a day.
The key, as always, is moderation.
Growing your own tobacco without pesticides and not adding weird additional chemicals in the processing phase is a pretty good way to minimize risks. It’s ORGANIC, for goodness sake. And we KNOW organic is good for you, right?
Besides – even if you grow tobacco, no one is going to force you to smoke it. In fact, you can’t barter something you’ve already consumed. Think of your tobacco patch as insurance for the future. (BTW, you can learn all you need to know on how to grow tobacco in my little $2 booklet.)
One other thing about tobacco: beyond smoking it, you can also use it as a powerful organic insecticide. Boil leaves or cigar butts into a tea, then strain and spray as needed. Just don’t spray it on tobacco, peppers, eggplant, potatoes or tomatoes, since those plants are all related and may share viruses. (You also might not want to apply it to your salad greens – too much nicotine, like many things, will make you sick or kill you.)
Now, finally, I realize that every time tobacco comes up, some gal is likely to get all weepy or angry and point her finger and yell “How dare you say anything good about tobacco? My dad/aunt/mother/grandpa/ brother/demon lover/best friend’s sister’s baby daddy/hamster died of lung cancer!”
Yeah, I know. I’m very sorry.
Got a match?
What is your favorite seed varieties?
I've been growing a small-leafed "Havana" cigar variety for years now, but I'd like to expand into the huge-leafed burley types. The flavor on what I have ages out very nicely… dunno how the large types will compare. I need to keep experimenting.
Is it legal to grow tobacco in Florida? I want to give it a try.
Yes, definitely legal. Just not to grow and sell.
http://www.victoryseeds.com/tobacco.html just for reference
Good link. I think that's where I got my original tobacco seed years ago.
I grow a dark and a light Burel (Sp?) every year. Some years I don't even bother to start my own as I often get many volunteers that have been cross bred from the two varieties I started with.
As you mentioned the curing process is the hardest part especially when trying it in small amounts. I have been working on a fermenter set up that uses some heat from my wood furnace but have had issues figuring out the moisture retention issue.
Even if you do not cure your own tobacco the plants are amazing at acting like a trap for hornworms. Either variety (Tomato or Tobacco) hornworm will go straight for the tobacco plants and leave my tomatoes almost untouched. My assumption is the moths prefer the tobacco to lay on over the tomatoes but the worms are much easier to find on the tobacco plants.
I have also had good luck mixing my cured tobacco in with store purchased varieties which extends my supply out by almost 100% at times without sacrificing too much flavor.
Great ideas and input, PioneerPreppy. I've also noticed how much hornworms like the tobacco. Heck, I've considered drying and smoking the worms just to get back what they ate.
Curing is the big deal. I haven't pulled off good cigars, though it's on my list of things to do before I die.
Thanks for this article.
You're very welcome.
1. The truth about smoking is cut and dried(pun intended).
2. Sure, there's middle ground in the debate. Lots of people don't think that smoking make a person "very bad". Some just think that smokers are weak spirited and are engaged in a destructive habit that will lead to premature death and a loss of "quality of life" in their final years. Some people might be disappointed that a professed Christian would encourage what they consider sinful behavior. Some couldn't care less.
3. Why would any sane person waste perfectly good garden space to grow tobacco when they could plant grapes or corn and make booze.
Grapes go bad, and wine takes years. However, in a SHTF situation, a small jar of rolled stogies can be worth a fortune.
Cut and dried? I don't think so. Lung cancer rates continue to increase even as smoking has declined. Plus, cigarette smoking isn't the same as pipe or cigar smoking. It's like saying nachos are equivalent to fresh corn on the cob… yet they all get lumped in together.
Those who think smokers are weak spirited or engaging in a destructive habit that's going to kill them are free to feel thus… just as smokers are free to point out that most of the Standard American Diet is more likely to kill you than cigar smoking.
As for the spiritual angle, I'm with Spurgeon. Smoke to the glory of God… and thank Him for tasty tobacco.
On #3… you do have a point. The lesson is: make more garden space, then you can have it all.
Thanks for stopping by.
Anon was CONCERNED!
Lung cancer rates can increase while smoking rates decrease because current lung cancer rates do not reflect current tobacco use. They reflect past trends in tobacco use because the ill effects of such use don't normally show up until years after a person starts smoking. Lung cancer rates are also affected by other environmental factors, such as exposure to exhaust fumes or occupational exposure to carcinogens.
Spurgeon ended up as an overweight man who died prematurely from diseases caused or aggravated by smoking and drinking. Because of failing health and the growing temperance movement he eventually gave up smoking and drinking
On an unrelated note, are you experiencing "greening" on any of your citrus?
Thank you for your informative and thought provoking blog.
You know cancer is far from the only issue related to smoking. There’s also COPD ( for instance ) to which my father succumbed and it’s nothing I’d wish on anyone.
But there are other issues which are being totally factored-out by the tobacco=bad hysteria.
View old footage of NASA lunar missions and note every mission-control console sporting an ashtray… With whom do we “collude” now when merely even attempting to put one of our astronauts on the ISS? Smoking is still far\irly common there BTW. I found easily-interpreted Mercator world-maps color coded for current prevalence of smoking.
Also easily found were similar maps representing prevalence of death-by-AD-dementia ( of which my mother died and also a long/protracted death I wouldn’t wish on any but my worst enemies ). The two color-coded world maps displayed a clear inverse relationship.
Now; I’m educated enough to comprehend there could be other things factored-in—such as a population where vodka-swilling culture kills people though cirrhosis of the liver before they live long enough to exhibit their AD symptoms to the point there’s a diagnosis. But it still seemed pretty thought-provoking of a “mere association not proving a causal relationship”…
One factor that really bothers me and is not even paid attention-to in the debate is a trend toward social isolation. There was a time when smoking was more the rule than the exception when one smoker “lit up” and another would follow suit—maybe even lighting theirs off the first smoker’s to save a match–we were less socially-isolated. This is a social bonding issue. Now trends are such that we’re even encouraged to eschew social eating at restaurants in favor of sitting at home getting our heads pumped full of the latest “common folly” in front of a flat-panel display and using yet one more of the proliferation of “apps” to have a specialist ( whose role in life is to promote social isolation ) deliver us a restaurant meal to be eaten on self-imposed de facto “house arrest”… I don’t think the damage from this sort of trend is often a topic of public discussion or thought to be of much significance but it *is* . Just ignoring it and pretending the emperor is not naked doesn’t clothe the emperor.
I only smoke tobacco ceremonially one cigarette/wk ( except when I visit the folks’ grave when I smoke each one and then knock off the 1/wk smoke the next two subsequent weeks).
In my vaping-to-stave-off-the-3-horsemen-of-the-Elderpocalypse experiment I will haul out the huffnagle and huff nicotine-laced glycerin along with someone who persists in smoking and there’s a definite bonding element. Those whose gift tobacco was to the world used it ( among other purposes ) as a peace offering ( a gift of tobacco or sharing a pipe ) at meetings with strangers. They may not have been the romantically-portrayed “angels” modern “history” insists upon but certainly what and how their use of tobacco was conducted is worthy of our consideration. Nothing is all-bad or all good. But tobacco smoking and the use of what I call “essence-of-tobacco” (now) is an integral part of human history and “those who insist on ignoring the past are condemned to repeat it” —or *worse* . To me the goal is to find ways of doing what we have a tendency to do and finding the safest ways bearing the lowest penalties while trying to preserve the benefits. *That’s* “progress”. We are what we are and trying to pretend otherwise is truly a fool’s errand. I believe if my parents had the option of switching to e-cigarettes rather than pretending to quit and continuing in furtive persistence/shame at least one might still be alive and they certainly would have had their lives extended and quality-of-life improved. The technology was there from the time zinc/carbon battery flashights were first common. And I’m really not that interested in the arrogant pronouncements of an industry which let tens of thousands ( maybe more ) of their vict–er; “patients” bleed out through gastric ulcers while chanting “no active pathogen can exist in the acid-bath of the stomach”. Countless premature demises for the want of a little cheap/ubiquitous antibiotic chemotherapy. And that’s just one glaring example.
"the ill effects of such use don't normally show up until years after a person starts smoking"
I don't buy that. Smoking has dropped for years and years… long enough that the data should show significant declines in lung cancer.
Also, doctors calculate "smoking deaths" by determining if a deceased patient smoked at any point in their past. If so… smoking-related death.
Spurgeon's real problem was food (like most Baptists).
As for greening, I don't seem to have it here, but I did have to take out my mom's navel orange down south.
Smoking death calculation is rather like alcohol statistics. If you and I are traveling, you are driving, and I had a beer before we left, if you have a fender-bender, and the police note that your passenger had a beer, then it gets marked an “alcohol-related” accident.
Twain has thoughts on that sort of thing.
should i do anything to enrich my sandy Florida "soil" (really, it's just sand here) before transplanting young tobacco plants into the ground? and is peat moss ok to start the tobacco seeds?
Peat moss isn't the best. Sand is good enough and a not-to-chunky potting soil is another good option.
I plant tobacco directly in into the ground here and fertilize them with chicken manure or compost or whatever else I have laying around. It's pretty tough stuff.
If you want an easy cure method. Lay your mature leaves on the grass in a pile. Cover with a damp towel or sack. Turn the pile inside out every day for about 5 days or until a uniform colour of yellow or brown has taken place. Some leaf might turn brown while others are still green. Remove the brown or fully yellow leaf and hang it in the shed to dry. Once dry, smoke away or store it. It tastes quite good at this stage although it’s better with age.
Phil – this is great information. Thank you.
How do you prevent mold? My leaves mold unless they are completely separated.
In drying or when on the plant?
After picking. It seems it only takes a few humid days and they start molding. I tried hanging the entire plant in my woodshed. Lots and lots of mold.
Let them sun-dry first, then hang them up. That’s made a difference for me.
Thats the same technique I use. Then when they yellow, i remove the stem by making a loop of thin wire and run the stem through it ti cut the keaf away from the stem. Works great!
Very good. Thanks, Michael.
I would avoid that method on a lawn composed of Kentucky 31 tall fescue—a very tough/resiiant lawn grass still often used–especially after recent mowing. It has an endophyte which produces ergoline alkaloids. If anyone thinks the alkaloids in tobacco are “bad for you” then you haven’t investigated ergoline alkaloids. Why take chances? I don’t know if any could be transferred/absorbed by the curing tobacco but I just wouldn’t take the chance. Scientific agriculture experts once expected Kentuck 31 to be the answer to many pasture problems–until livestock began birthing deformed progeny. Another scientific orthodoxy-approved miracle bites the dust. It’s a good tough lawn turf that can be grown from seed. I wouldn’t use it where dogs or cats might like to occasionally gnaw on some lawn though.
For sprouting seeds, I found that laying a single thickness layer of paper towel right on top of the soil after sowing the seeds works great. It makes a barrier to reduce drying, and is thin enough to let a bit of sunlight through that they need. You water by spraying on the paper so you don’t disturb the seeds or tiny sprouts. Once you have plants big enough to see easily, you take off the paper.
Another helpful trick is to inundate the soil with boiling water before planting. This kills bugs, mold, weed seeds, bacteria, and the tobacco gets a really nice healthy start. Let the soil cool a bit before sowing, obviously.
I plant the sprouts when they are about 2 inches tall. The great majority survive. They need to be watered occasionally until they are established.
Great input – thank you. I’ll have to try the paper towel trick.
[…] litter, and dustbath. David the Good has a helpful article on his Survival Gardener blog entitled How to Grow Tobacco and Why You Should Grow It, and Victory Seeds has a large variety of tobacco seeds available. Park Seeds is one source for […]
David, thanks for the great article on tobacco! I agree with your response to Anonymous #3 – grow tobacco, grapes and corn….have it all!! ha ha Seriously though, your article is very informative!! Thank you.
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My sprouts look great so far. I planted them in early February, and now they are about a quarter-inch tall! The room I keep them in is always quite chilly, under 60 degrees which really slows them down.
Germination is great, better than usual, I think because I used my own seed that I had just picked in the late fall, so it was very fresh. Store-bought seed can be hit-or-miss.
The paper-towel trick worked great, but then, the excess seeds I just scattered on the top of various pots also sprouted well. I suspect that if your seed is good, tobacco isn’t nearly as finicky as people say. As soon as all risk of frost is gone I’ll take them outside. That’s when they really take off and start growing. Transplanting when just a few inches tall was fine last year.
I believe that my grandfather died at 93 (Alzheimer’s) after a lifetime of smoking as did my ex-father-in-law at 91 who smoked non-filters till the day he died (dementia) because they simply did not get wrapped up in all the fear mongering by the media. In fact, I believe most diseases are at least partially due to fear of everything they eat, drink, smoke, or touch too much. Fear is the number one exacerbator of dis-ease. People need to stop buying into the huge market for all the cures for old age and ill-health, and stop being moved by what somebody else thinks. This is not to say that any specific behavior is okay or healthy, just that, as Jesus said, “It is not that which goes into the mouth of a man that defiles him, but that which comes out. Blasphemy, adultery”…etc. Yep, words and ideas. What you say, which is what you think, is of far greater import than substances. There’s my sermon for the day. Bless you all.
There’s a new phrase floating around in the media haze—“inactivity is the new smoking”. I personally believe that keeping active is one of the best protections against all disease from any source. I’ve literally felt/experienced it when I went though a “fitness phase”. Sadly I admit I’ve fallen away from that faith but I do believe that my continued reasonably-good health and ability to be active are largely related to that phase of my life. I believe it may be that inactivity was always “the smoking”.
This is the best tobacco growing post I’ve seen yet–thank you! Definitely adding it to my garden next year.
Thank you, Jesse. I appreciate it.
Fun read, thanks for sharing! Enjoy smoking cigars, but have been considering picking up pipe smoking. What better excuse than growing your own and tobacco and realizing that it is way to hard to make a cigar from them.
Yes – the pipe tobacco is tons easier. I STILL can’t roll a cigar!
Hello sir! Fellow piper here!
I have tried to quit nicotine for some time and have realized, by growing tobacco you will A: get nictotine in you B:get a sense for how much work is behind supporting your drug use.
I have sworn never to inhale again! thus, picking the pipe up again ^^. I have fermented my first leaves for some time(3 weeks) and today is the day I shall taste the fruit of all my labour :), they just have to reach proper moisture content.
I want to tell you something about american chew… its bad for your teeth, all that sugar + fermentation bacteria = bad………………………..
Look into the swedish snus, its it very simple to make, a monkey could do it, but it can take years to make a “perfect” swedish snus. It is black and slightly corrosive but also pasturesized with added salty flavours, trying to avoid sugar to spare your teeth (eating sugary diet + sugary tobacco all the time = kiss your teeth goodbye)
Nice information you have here thou! I enjoyd reading it! Puff on fellow Dragon!
Snus sounds very good – I’ve never tried it but will look it up. Good work with the fermentation! Excellent! I would love to hear how it turns out.
Glad you stopped by.
[…] my older post on growing tobacco, I got a new comment this morning from […]
Inhaling any combustible material is never going to be “healthy” for anyone. However, if you choose to do so you should grow your own. But if you’re going through the effort, you might as well just grow weed instead.
I used to smoke rope. I never will again. The trend toward legalization/decriminalization will, eventually, be found to be the worst trend ever pursued ( with the exception of taking away a lot of power/influence from black-marketeer criminal types ). Sociiologically one may as-well just promote the practice of putting a ligature on one’s neck for a set period every day and destroy one’s ability to employ critical thinking skill through anoxia. Grow the tobacco. Time has already told this tale.
Those who ignore/forget history are condemned to repeat it.
Lol i love who ever wrote this is priceless!! Also thanks for the great info
There’s a little-known fact about smoking tobacco ( though quackeaucraps have known it for decades ). Those who smoke have a lower incidence of Parkinson’s and the more they smoked the greater the protective effect. I’m not using that as an argument to smoke. Carbon monoxide is not good for anyone nor are furans or tars.
I vape @ 45mg/ml. I never did smoke. I used to nag my chain-smoking parents incessantly about smoking. As a kid I had tonsilitis every year and I suspect my poorly-formed upper respiratory tract made me a lot more susceptible to negative effects of living in a home where there was always a waist-high layer of tobacco smoke but that’s water-under-the-bridge and now I’m having a lot of second-thoughts. My father died of COPD, my mother of AD. When I visit them now I smoke each of them a cigarette since they liked it so much and can’t smoke anymore for themselves. I smoke one ceremonial cigarette a week both in their honor and in honor of the 2nd Americans having tobacco as a sacrament in their culture.
Since there’s a neuroprotective aspect of smoking in relation to Parkinson’s It has occurred to me that the massive and burgeoning pandemic of the Three Horsemen of Neurodegenerative Diseases of the Aged may have some relationship with the mania to delete tobacco smoking from our culture.
I did a little quick&dirty internet sleuthing. I found a couple of color-coded maps online regarding highest and lowest incidences of death-by-AD. The former CCCP was low. The developed western nations were high.
Then I found another map like the aforementioned but it was for prevalence of tobacco smoking. The inverse relationship was unmistakable.
There are many other factors not being controlled-for but the result I found was at least suggestive-enough for there to be good reason to reexamine the fatwah against tobacco/nicotine/smoking we’ve experienced. For my own part I intend to dose myself with nicotine ( vaping ) for the rest of my life. I use a concentrated vial of nicotine and mix my own syrup up using pure vegetable-derived glycerin as the base or vehicle—no propylene glycol necessary. It’s not coking-up my devices any worse. I’m not looking for “flavor” nor for volumes of billowing vapor.
Since I’ve instituted this vaping experiment I am experiencing far fewer “scavenger hunts” for items I may have put down in unaccustomed places compared to before I instituted my self-experimentation. I fully-realize this all goes in the “anecdotal round-file” as far as “good scientific parsimony” is concerned but I am reporting it anyway. One thing I found online-searching was that nicotine is the only neuro-supportive supplement which has been reliably proved to work and the effect is in the “ability to focus” category.
Ever watched old footage of mission-control for the manned space program? All the counters for the control panels and monitors had ashtrays. You’d never find that now. And now we couldn’t put men on The Moon and return them alive to save all life on earth ( if that should somehow become necessary )—-no-doubt all a big coincidence. When we want to put our astronauts on the I.S.S. it seems we find it necessary to “collude” with the Russians. Where smoking is still far more common. No doubt just another totally unrelated coincidence…
I’m not citing any of my onllne sources for what I’ve related above. I would rather have people who have read this post go do their own and possibly find other independent sources pro or con. Of course in using online data sources one must be careful to employ their “reading-between-the-lines/below-the-fold” newscreening skills honed over decades ( I’m 65 ) of trying to ferret out truth from agenda-driven-drivel from our “news” sources. But there’s one thing on your side. It’s nearly impossible to craft a good lie without deconstructing the truth and using elements of it to build the convincing lie.
I would like to hear from anyone who is growing tobacco and producing vaping syrup from it. The instructions for making tobacco pesticides for garden use would seem a good place to start.
I have two reasons for contemplation of embarking on such a project. I obtained my bottle of glycerin when the FDA began regulating vaping, sure that very soon it would be regulated out-of-business. It didn’t happen but the various shops have become far more “edgy” about what you could buy after regulation was begun.
But my main reason for wishing to DIY vaping syrup is that tobacco doesn’t only contain one alkaloid. There are several present plus ( apparently ) at least one monoamine oxidase inhibitor. It may very-well be that if there is any neuro-protective effect from smoking tobacco it may be more pronounced with the full medley of tobacco alkaloids.
Certainly any addictive effect is dependent on more than one single alkaloid. Experiment after experiment has proved that mice can easily be addicted to tobacco smoke but that to addict them to pure nicotine is nearly impossible. Maybe it’s just me but I have to “remember” to dose myself with the 45mg/ml vapor and get no sort of noticeable withdrawal syndrome if circumstances dictate my not being able to “indulge”. I also live-trapped most of the deer-mouse infestation my household had developed and keep them in an enclosure I call “Mousecatraz”. Yes I know–extremely “dangerous” to my health. Online sources for information on keeping colonies of wild-caught deer mice recommend full “Ft. Detrick biohazard protocols” for indoors culture. Outdoors colonies are considered safer due to natural U.V. from sunlight and dilution from outdoors natural air circulation. I use gloves to handle the water-bottle and immediate hand-sanitizer and then hot-water/soap hand-washing. Either my particular population are not heavily infested with the dread pathogens these rodents can harbor or I have an extraordinarily robust immune system…
I mention the mice because I have used a drinking-straw to blow 45mg/ml nicotine-laced vapor right in the faces of the mice who love to congregate around the top of the water-bottle hoping to discourage them from that behavior and so-far not one has ever come-a-runnin’ to get vaped when they hear me coming. Most run away from it. Once-again; totally unacceptable from the standpoint of the purest form of “good science”. But they’re there, I vape, so “why not”?
It’s my personal belief that addiction to pure nicotine is a total myth.
Back on-point. I want to grow some tobacco and extract all the alkaloids and make vaping syrup from it and use it. Then we’ll see if I experience any noticeable withdrawal syndrome when circumstances dictate temporary withdrawal. I’m not worried about becoming addicted if it turns out I become addicted from the full set of alkaloids since this would only help me to keep up a “sidestream smoke” level of intoxication and I already have resolved to keep dosing myself with ( at least ) nicotine for the rest of my life anyway.
Relating to the tenor of this site regarding the value of growing one’s own tobacco–whether for personal use or barter in the SHTF type scenarios or just for off-the-books barter— it would seem to me that with the popularity of vaping ( not excise-taxed, less wasteful, attraction-to-gadgets &c ) bartering vaping fluids might be a valuable aspect of producing “tobacco products” as a cottage industry.
All caveats apply. It would be difficult/expensive to guarantee standardized dosages and one would be dealing with a “cocktail” of chemicals, not one highly-purified/standardized/regulated alkaloid. Barterer-beware.
If anyone reading this is already doing this I’d love to hear about it.
Is there any chemist’s who can explain extracting nicotine from the tobacco plant or is that a seperate beast. I read nicotine is part of the nightshade of plants. Would be grateful for any guidance. Home grown eliquid would be worth every penny.
At the risk of being repetitive and as per my post of 9/20/2019:
I tried investigating the extraction of pure nicotine from plant sources. If you’re really adept at chemical lab procedures or feel you have some talent along those lines maybe you should try it. Chemistry was my educational “Waterloo” so I abandoned all hope before entering there.
As you may ( or not ) know tobacco smokers have a lower incidence of Parkinsonism. This has been known for decades and not widely propagated by a healing profession probably sore-afraid it would undo all their recent success in gaining the decrease in tobacco smoking. I would never recommend smoking tobacco for that purpose as the possible deleterious effects of CO, furans and so-forth may far overshadow possible benefits. Nor would I recommend drinking Everclear as a preventative against water-borne contagions when treated/filtered water does the same at far less the potential health-risk costs. But it is suggestive… Vaping doesn’t carry near the risks of inhaling smoke.
What is not clear and has not ( to my knowledge ) been investigated satisfactorily is whether it’s pure nicotine that’s responsible for lowering the incidence of Parkinsonism in smokers–and the more they smoked the lower their risk—- or other alkaloids or other substances in tobacco. There are a medley of alkaloids in tobacco, not solely nicotine. Science employed it’s infamous “tunnel vision” once it was discovered that tobacco smoking is addictive in focusing on the most “sinister” alkaloid in tobacco ( nicotine ) and then totally ignoring the others and their possible beneficial effects or synergistic actions along with nicotine.
It’s well known scientifically by rigorous study that pure nicotine is not strongly addictive—contrary to the incessant legally-required warnings posted on pure nicotine products; never confuse a good myth with the intrusion of fact—- and that while laboratory rodents allowed to self-administer tobacco smoke are easily addicted those allowed to self-administer pure nicotine; “not so much”. I’ve experimented on my own captive colony of deer mice ( formerly my household infestation of deer mice ) by trying to use pure “salts” ( probably nicotine benzoate ) vapor puffed at them to discourage them congregating where I don’t want t hem to congregate. So far not so many as one single mouse has ever begun racing to the “forbidden zone” when I approach begging for a big lung-full of nicotine-laced glycerin vapor. They do it because they like being there and when they get “vaped” by blowing it on them through a plastic beverage straw they scatter like the wind.
Subsequently I’ve discovered that just blowing on them is just as effective.
You’ve brought up the issue of DIY vaping syrup and it’s possible value. I don’t k now if you mean it would be “better” through your ability to control for purity and lack of other adulterants or if this is in reference to the full-court-press now underway to regulate vaping out-of-existence.
Here’s my suggestion and I claim no special knowledge or expertise and it’s just me musing my surmises. Maybe it would be better not to make home-brew pure nicotine vaping fluid through some chemical process fraught with the use of potentially-dangerous substances if the processes are not properly used. Maybe it would be better just to extract and concentrate a “tea” from tobacco and simply add the whole medley of alkaloids to be found in tobacco leaves and then suspend that in a vehicle such as pure plant-based glycerin.
Simply being able to reliably control the concentrations of the alkaloids in such an endeavor would be daunting-enough without adding the burden of learning to isolate nicotine without the other tobacco substances. My strong suggestion for the sake of your own safety would be to have any product you create tested by a professional lab—probably at a pretty hefty price— for the presence of nicotine. I’m pretty sure they’d be able to accommodate you and the pretext would be you’re curious as to whether the claimed level of nicotine in what you’re presenting as a sample of a commercially-available product is really accurate.
The less they know about what you’re really trying to do the more objective they can be, if you catch my “drift”. Nicotine can be deadly and this is no activity for careless DIY mad-scientist type carelessness. At the very least it would be obligatory to self-test the resultant product by using increasingly larger small quantities and monitoring one’s pulse–after establishing your own normal “baseline” non-intoxicated figure-of-merit—-by the use of any of the many ubiquitous pulse-rate reporting/recording home sphygmomanometer devices which are cheap, easily available and easily used. I did that when first instituting the use of a commercially-prepared vaping syrup above the 60mg/ml strength just prior to the first FDA strictures being imposed—after which most shops would no longer sell anything higher than 24mg/ml.
The full-alkaloids-medley vaping syrup experiment might yield a discovery of a form of vaping which is much more satisfying to those trying to quit smoking since it may not be solely nicotine they’re seeking from smoking and not finding when they attempt the cessation of smoking through vaping.
I’ve had most of the people to whom I’ve suggested vaping as the alternative to the smoking they claim they’d like to quit tell me that it just doesn’t satisfy their craving to smoke. I even made little “guest mouthpieces” for my former device out of plastic soda straws and would allow smokers to “give it a try” if they never had before. Not one had a “eureka” moment and thought they’d switch to vaping.
Of course my experience is only of the dread “anecdotal” variety so-despised by scientific rigor. I’ve read many online testimonials from former smokers who found vaping to be the essential element to their ability to quit smoking. To me this represents the concept that even the most intransigent addictive behaviors are subject to an effort of the human will to overcome. Also that brainwashing through the “common folly” plays a large role in the intransigence of any addictive behavior.
Right now our society is about to be bankrupted by the costs of a burgeoning pandemic of the Three Horsemen of the Neurodegenerative Elderpocalypse—AD, ALS and Parkinson’s. Something useful needs to be done about this looming disaster and it’s not being meaningfully addressed.
Anyway in direct answer to your question it’s my plan to grow tobacco and just make a “broad-spectrum” non-nicotine-only concentrated tea to be diluted in vegetable-sourced pure glycerin and used in my vaping pen and to see if the neuro-supportive value I’ve experienced from vaping pure nicotine—at a 45mg/ml concentration with “salts” type nicotine concentrate–may be even more beneficial to my age-related floundering cognitive function if all the tobacco alkaloids ( and at least one monoamineoxidase inhibitor ) are present.
Whups—I meant to type my prior post as of 9/10/2019. Sorry.
What a great article.
I smoke roll-ups & after reading this, I’m going to buy & plant some seeds. We have a greenhouse for plants in our garden too.
Cheers from the United kingdom.
I’m reading this in 2020 because I can’t get snus where I live due to the covid-19 pandemic. I’m brand surfing right now.
I like general snus red (real strong) and black (slim but strong flavor).
Chew: gets stuck in my teeth. The preservatives and acids they add destroy my mouth.
skoal poaches are great. But I end up breaking the bag half the time trying to get the juices out.
Dip: isn’t too bad. I don’t get floaties with the straigh cut. I see why people dip now. It sure makes you spit a lot though
Copenhagen snuff: I feel like a real dipper with that stuff. I once gave a can away because I hated it. Now I like the salty motor oil taste. I like how it dissolves and when I ‘m done dipping there’s nothing to spit out. It makes me poo though. I read online it’s a naturally dewormer
Reading through the comments I was surprised to see the words, shtf, pandemic, social-isolation. I had no idea this was a survival site. I thought you guys had a magical glass ball into the future. Here I am prepping during a pandemic thinking I’m just being economic.
I enjoyed your posting
Especially the rants by Diogenes. Very accomplished. Quite revealing
My circumstances are also amusing, somewhat particular and unique, and I’m in the mood to share.
I’m 72, self isolating at my plantation in Hawaii, as a haven from my NY COVID epicenter home.
Until very recently I was on the front lines of this epidemic as I am an MD, senior physician in my group practice.
I am a long time intermittent pipe smoker,recently on hiatus in an attempt to increase my odds if I will ultimately contract COVID and need a respirator. I do still enjoy Negronis and am partial to Boulvardiers.
On point , my small tobacco patch is beautifully ready to harvest,nicotinia flowering. I do not know the type/species.
Next step: harvesting and curing.
I am considering bunching some leaves and hanging them
Placing some in the dry house that I use for my coffee processing
And to dry some in the sun
I also have a storage house with dehudifiers and a fan to keep the sacks of my Kona Arabica green beans dry
I have seen a video from Indonesia of shredding leaves prior to sun drying for tobacco destined for cigarettes
How to shred for pipe usage?
Fermenting small batches?
I grow sugar cane and can use juice or syrup for flavoring
I have an allspice tree that will give berries in a few months
Suggest other pipe tobacco flavorings?
As far as health is concerned, there are some more immediate challenges to weather through and who wouldn’t risk shaving off a bit of my expected senility for a good smoke?
I would welcome comments
I’m going to try to ferment some leaves
I will then attempt to flavor this using sugar cane juice or syrup
I’m a “girl” and a DOCTOR, and I grow tobacco and smoke it, so not all “girls” whine about it….. 😉
[…] for a selected fashionable style of tobacco. An rising variety of millennials are selecting to grow their own tobacco or just purchase pipe tobacco online from one of many many sources […]
Sorry I can’t read the rest of the article past trying to infer a causal relationship of “lung cancer increase”’after smoking became less popular. This doesn’t imply that tobacco is any more “healthy” or safer for you to consume nor does it mitigate any of the evidence regarding the radioactive material that tobacco generates when combusted.
Why even say —- like this? If you like tobacco, enjoy it but don’t —— lie about it.
We have been lied to our entire lives about a broad range of topics. I see no need to believe any accepted narrative.
Those lies are mostly coming from large corporations to continue selling their product. I trust peer reviewed scientific studies over marketing efforts and I’d advise you to do the same.
Scientists are controlled by money and power. You have to be very, very softheaded to trust much of anything coming from their peer-reviewed studies. Maybe in the past that worked. Certainly not now.
Benefit of tobacco: “Low incidence of daily active tobacco smoking in patients with symptomatic COVID-19” seems to protect against infection. Another study found nicotine kills lots of viruses and bacteria. Also might help with mental problems. I’ve found it good to calm the mind and stress with all that’s going on, studies found it helps monkeys deal with fear and anxiety. All good things in a survival situation I should think. Dr. Whitby’s books on tobacco has a quote that it helps soldiers undergoing hardship. I’ve found it useful for hardship myself lately a few times a week having a half a pipe. I am doubtful that smoking like that is really so terrible. I think you can help mitigate some of the (probably overstated) bad effects of smoking with oral hygene with H2o2 and taking more vitamin C. Just a guess. Growing some tobacco myself too, working on the curing, thanks for the great info.
Oh forgot also in Dr. Whitby or Dr. Douglass’s book on tobacco it supposedly helps you cope with feelings of hunger, another good thing in survival situation.
I am having great trouble growing tobacco in South Florida even though I imagine it should be simply. Pure sandy soil amended with compost, dry leaves and straw. I have to water everyday and have for months.
I read that it’s drought tolerant, however it wilts heavily during the day. Did I transplant too early? My largest one is probably 8-12 inches across, quite short still, it wilts but not as heavily. I transplanted them all at the same time at roughly the same size.
Any specific tips you might be able to conjure up for South Florida? I just sowed a new batch of seeds so I will let these root balls get larger and more established this time. I have them in the direct sun, seed trays, with a water bottom.
You may have too much carbon in that soil – dry leaves and straw will pull nitrogen away from your plants.