Tobacco without additives: What exactly does that mean?

Additives can perform lots of different functions when included with tobacco. These substances might improve the smouldering behaviour of the tobacco, for example, or its combustion process. Additives can also serve as humectants. But this can also be done with few additives to none at all.

Did you know that you can also buy tobacco without any additives? This post will teach you the differences and offer ways to keep your tobacco moist yourself.

What are additives?

These comprise all the substances that are added to a tobacco product. These might be aromas to influence the taste of the smoke. Additives are required to meet quality standards on a continuous basis. This way, tobacco manufacturers can always meet your demands and expectations as a consumer with regard to the product.

There are some 500 additives used in the manufacture of tobacco and cigarettes in Germany. Manufacturers use a fraction of these substances to produce a single brand. You will find further information on these substances in the database of the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL).

Regulations governing additives

The use of these substances has been regulated since 19 May 2016 with the aid of German food law and the German Tobacco Ordinance (TVO); since 20 May 2016, the new German Tobacco Products Act and the new German Tobacco Products Ordinance. Both are based on the European Tobacco Products Directive 2014/40/EU.

These ordinances prohibit the flavouring of cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco – this includes menthol flavouring, for example. Manufacturers are entitled to continue to use additives that are urgently required in tobacco production.


Disclosure of additives used for the product

Since 2002, tobacco manufacturers have been sending BMEL a regular overview that lists the additives used in each product, together with quantity and function information. Manufacturers furnish all of the toxicological data available – in terms of health impacts and addictive effects.


Tobacco without additives?

What does it mean if a tobacco manufacturer claims that its product is ‘without additives’ or ‘free of additives’? Manufacturers take this to mean tobacco or tobacco blends that do not contain any additives. In this case, only steam is used to process the raw tobacco.

Hence, ‘without additives’ means that the tobacco contains no humectants, flavourings or aromas.

Additives in tobacco products: a proven approach

As early as the 16th century, Spanish sailors added liquorice to their tobacco to help keep it fresh. Additives were already in use at this time. Over the centuries, smaller quantities of other ingredients were added to tobacco as well. This was done to manage moisture levels and protect the tobacco against microbial degradation. At the same time, the ingredients acted as binders or fillers.

Food-like ingredients – known as ‘aromas’ – are blended into the tobacco to balance out the natural taste of tobacco. This is what gives different brands their characteristic taste and optimal aroma.

At the same time, the aromas – such as sugar, derivatives of natural herbs and spices, essential oils – serve as a substitute for the sugar lost during the drying process. There are tobacco blends to which sugar, cocoa and fruit extracts are added. This leads to a sweet, chocolatey or fruity taste when smoking.

Rolling tobacco contains additives, too?

If you smoke tobacco from a pipe or use it to roll your own cigarettes, then you will have tasted bland tobacco at some point before. A tobacco like this comes about if a package is not kept tightly sealed or has simply spent too long on a shelf. Perhaps you are among those who smoke infrequently. In this case, very dry tobacco is not uncommon, as it often goes unused for extended periods of time.

Good rolling tobacco does not dry out immediately, however. This type of tobacco even has a certain baseline moisture level – making it easier for you to shape the tobacco the way you wish. Rolling tobacco – also referred to as ‘roll-your-own’ – contains up to 20% moisture. RYO tobacco often includes one or the other additive to regulate humidity levels. There is also rolling tobacco without additives. This can be a challenge to keep moist – but we have a few tips for you.

How can you keep tobacco naturally moist?

To keep your tobacco from drying out too quickly, there are a few simple tricks and household items that you can use to provide continuous moisture:

  • Use heat to moisten: Do you have a teapot with a tea strainer that you can place over the teapot opening? Then fill the pot with some boiling water. Fill the tea strainer with your tobacco. Cover the teapot and wait around 30 minutes. The tobacco should then have gained moister due to the ‘sweating’.
  • Moisten your tobacco with food: This method requires a plastic bag or jar that you can close tightly. Fill the bag or jar with your tobacco. Add an orange peel or a small piece of raw potato. Seal the bag or jar. Leave the contents undisturbed overnight. Then check to see whether the tobacco has absorbed enough moisture.
  • Use a tobacco stone: These stones are also known as ‘tobacco humidifiers’ or ‘humistones’. Place the humidifier in water for two to three minutes. This is how the stone absorbs moisture. Then place the stone with your tobacco. The water in the stone will slowly evaporate. The tobacco absorbs the moisture.

You have lots of ways to furnish moisture for your tobacco. Certainly, the easiest variation is to use a tobacco stone or tobacco humidifier. With this stone you can also make sure not to over-moisturise your tobacco.

Curious to learn more? Our Maya brand also offers these kinds of humistones. If you’d like to try out a tobacco humidifier like this, simply contact us using the live-chat feature shown on our website. We will be happy to send you a claystone.

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