Cigarette information for a new smoker

Before I begin, I would like to just state that I don’t care how much you hate smoking, smokers or cigarettes, but please remain true to the question. I don’t want any no-smoking rants.

I recently have started to smoke cigarettes regularly due to the fact I am now in college and have joined a fraternity and have noticed that many of my brothers enjoy a smoke once in a while. I have been several cigarettes a day, never more than 4 in one day, for about a month now, but I still find that I really don’t know much at all when it comes to the terminology, brands, methods, what have you.

So my first question is, what is the difference between the different kinds of cigarette varieties? I have tried both lights and regulars, and there is defintinely a difference. Marlboro Reds, for instance, I have found to be just far too strong, while the lights were much easier to take in. What is the difference here? Also what are menthols? I tried one the other day and was surprised to feel a minty sensation in the back of my throat, which was kind of cool at first but got irritating after a while.

What is the purpose of packing? Is there any?
What is the difference between regulars and the 100s?
So far my favorite cigarette that I have tried have been Camel Turkish Golds but I haven’t tried the Turkish Jades. What is the difference? I have also liked Lucky Strike lights when I tried them, but again, the regular ones seemed a bit strong.

Is there anything else I should know so I don’t sound like an idiot talking about cigarettes?

And now a poll question, what is your favorite brand and variety of cigarettes?


OK, no rants here. But as a smoker myself my best advice to you is don’t start or stop now. Believe me, I wish someone had given me that advice a few years back (or, more precisely, I wish I’d followed it). I hesitated before answering this 'cos I don’t want to encourage you but I figure that we may as well try and answer the questions.

Different brands use different tobacco (or different mixes of tobacco). Farmed from different places, dried with different methods (I guess), and picked at different times. It’s like tea (or whiskey if you prefer) that each brand aims for it’s own ‘flavour’.

Cigarettes from different countries also have specific tastes that I guess appeal more to the natives of that country. For instance I find UK cigs to taste far more chemically than US ones, where as European ones tend to be much stronger by default. In addition even recognised brands are slightly different when bought in different places (this may be to do with the legality of what they can add).

In addition there are a bunch of chemicals used to change the flavour and the burning properties of cigarettes (i.e. they add stuff so that cigs don’t go out on their own, unlike cigars which do).

Lights, Milds, Mediums, etc, there’s some debate about the health implications (see here)but basically lights are supposed to have less nicotene and tar per cig than normals. In the UK the amounts are printed on the side of the pack. Some cigs have holes in the filter that allow clean air to mix with the smoke to lessen the strength (many smokers cover these while smoking, either consiously or not).

Same thing with menthol added to the tobacco. Menthol is in a lot of throat medicenes and stuff. Hell since I’m here have the snopes link to a menthol Urban Legend. I think the point of menthol is to make the smoke ‘feel’ cooler and also to numb the throat a bit.

Packing – dunno, doubt it. I’ve always thought hundreds where just longer – maybe 100mm long ? I could be wrong about that.

Dunno really. There are many types of flavoured tobacco but they don’t often come pre-rolled. There are clove cigarettes which are nice once in a while (and even worse for you than normal ones, plus more expensive). If you’re really interested you could find a good tobacco shop and mooch around to see what they’ve got.

Finally I’ll say that I’ve always been told (or believed) that rolling tabacco and cigars were better for you than cigs 'cos there’s less (or no) chemicals used. Dunno if someone more informed could chime in. However not smoking at all is better for you than all of that – but you knew that.

For what it’s worth I smoke Marlboro Mediums (when I can get 'em).


Menthol cigarettes are the alcopops of cigarettes. They just made of tobacco laced with menthol, so that they taste like sweeties (up to a point) but have all the tarry-nicotiney goodness of normal cigarettes. Also, they’re for girls, so I’d drop them.

100s are just longer, that’s all.

There isn’t much point in packing (if by this you mean tapping the packet before opening it) except that in certain brands the tobacco is rather loose, causing it to burn faster. If you compact the tobacco a bit, your cigarette may last longer. I say that but since they mix gun cotton into the things to make them burn faster anyway this may be an utterly useless habit. It’s sort of satisfying to see a few millimetres of empty cigarette paper though. You can feel good about yet another successful cigarette compacting operation.

Don’t worry about only smoking 4 a day: you’ll soon be able to deal with a whole pack! It may seem daunting at first, but one day you’ll crack it! It helps if you drink large amounts of beer at the same time.

Finally, my favourite brand is Gauloises Blondes Legeres. Unfortunately I quit recently and I can’t have one.

Welcome to the smoking fraternity. You have years of tobacco-derived pleasure in front of you. Bear in mind that it will fuck you up though.

If all your “brothers” jumped off a cliff would you do it?

If you must smoke, be an original. Roll your own from a chemical free tobacco (American Spirit comes to mind; there are others) and avoid the hundreds of additives and noxious chemicals in commercially made ciggies.

Be aware that the formaldehyde alone in commercially made ciggies can seriously screw with your body. Also, for the full effect of the smoking experience, there is nothing quite like pulling out a cigarette case and selecting one rolled specifically for the alloted time. (Thin, short-packed for when you’re in a hurry and don’t have a lot of time to waste, a fully packed one for leisurely puffin’ yer brains out with the guys.)

You can buy a roller so that the cigs don’t look like joints. You can even get ‘tubes’ with filters, but if you’re gonna smoke, be a smoker and disdain filters as ‘girly affectations for someone who’s not man enough to take their tobacco straight.’

By choosing to addict yourself to a toxic substance, using a chemical-free tobacco will at least give you a fighting chance to avoid the worst of the full body damage, and confine most of the toxicity to your lungs. You’re smoking to go along with the crowd and be cool, right? So be ultra-cool, and avoid having that nasty burned chemical smell on your body all the time.

Four or so a day is where most addicted smokers think they’re safe starting out. My last advice is to buy life insurance NOW, because you can still pass as a non-smoker (not enough damage on x-ray to show yet) but it will be much more expensive when you’re a pack a day man. I can buy ANY insurance for less now than my smoking partner. He’s male, and has smoked for almost 2/3 of his life, but never been ill. I’m female, and have had three kinds of cancer, one of which is very rare and always terminal, as in totally uncurable, but have not smoked since I was 22.

No rant, just facts. Oh, and your wardrobe will wear out faster, you’ll spend twice as much on dry-cleaning, and your cars will be worth less on trade-in, not to mention that you’ll get the crappy hotel rooms…all your choice.

Hey smokings cool.

All that stuff about erectile dysfunction is just conspiracy talk.

The purpose of the packaging is to keep in those sweet, nutty Kentucky aromas.

Ah! the innocence of youth…

Yeah, but he won’t look that young for long.

Smoking puts enough crap into your bloodstream that the oxygen that nourishes your skin and preserves the underlying support for your facial skin is replaced by stuff that kills it off, thereby providing that aged, wrinkled…OK, cured, as in smoked (like bacon) facial skin you see on long term smokers.

Go hard-core, Camel non-filtered, you will get used to them and before long you will be up to 2 packs a day and more!!!
You will be the last person any one will want to bum a smoke from, and when you toss the butt you won’t leave a trail of filters in your wake.
Whatever you do don’t smoke 100s, they make you look effeminate.

Ex-smoker checking in. Don’t be misled by claims that “light” cigarettes (reduced tar and nicotine) are somehow less dangerous. I don’t have a cite ready at hand, but I clearly recall some very reputable studies that found that addicted smokers, when smoking “lights,” simply smoked more of them, sucked the smoke in more vigorously, and held it in their lungs longer. In short, “lights” are just a slightly defective nicotine delivery system, and the addict will do what is necessary to get the dose he needs.

Listen, why don’t you take up something less addictive, like, say, heroin?

Honestly SonOfArizona; I’m still chuckling at your opening paragraph; it’s like if I went to the zoo and said:

“Before I Climb into the tiger cage, I would like to just state that I don’t care that you are all large, hungry carnivores. I just don’t want to be eaten alive, OK?”

I thought the SDMB didn’t allow us to discuss methods of suicide.

“Before I Climb into the tiger cage, I would like to just state that I don’t care that you are all large, hungry carnivores. I just don’t want to be eaten alive, OK?”

Nowhere in the OP do I see the author requesting methods to render cigarettes harmless.

Good, because that’s not what I’m talking about either - I’m referring to his naive hope (expressed in the opening paragraph) that nobody is going to preach at him over the dangers of smoking.

Well, this is GQ, not GA (General Advice).

Actually, it would be more like “When I jump into a tiger cage, what should I expect from the large, hungry, carnivores? I dont want to be eaten alive but Im aware that it may happen, OK?.”


My bad.

No problem.

100’s are for women. They have exactly the same amount of tobacco as regulars. They just have longer filters, which make them look more refined, like back in the day when people used those long cigarette holder things. The official joke is “100’s are Queen sized. Same as a King, but with a bigger butt.”

People who pack do so for two reasons. First, it evens out the draw. Second, it makes them easier to light. I personally can’t stand packed cigarettes. (Makes the draw too tight for my tastes.)

Stick with common brands, so that you can find them anywhere you happen to be. Mmmmm, Camel Lights.

Instead of cigarettes, you might like cigars. You don’t inhale them, and if you then switch to cigarettes you can avoid inhaling and cite your early cigar habit as to why.

Right now is the only time in your life you can quit. Within a year, it will impossible for the rest of your life. Just sayin.

By the way, I smoke about one pack per month. Social smoker.
Ill go two, three, four weeks without one, and then Ill buy a pack. Two or three cigs a day untill the pack is gone. Then another month before the next one. Rinse, Repeat.
I know most people dont have that much control (or lack thereof). Usually, you end up with a pack a day habit. Ive been dong this for fifteen years. I think the longest I`ve gone without one was about 6 months.

I can quit any time too. I only smoke 3 packs a day.

You have a great future of sinus infections, headaches and bronchitis to look forward to.

Twenty years from now you will look back at this moment as one of the worst decisions you ever made in your life.

But hey, that’s twenty years from now, who cares.

Light 'em up Johnny, be cool.