Cigarette Tapping- the obvious truth

I was endlessly irritated after reading Cecil’s conclusion on packing cigarettes. It is REDICULOUS.

Think for a second:

When you tap a pack of cigarettes, what does it do?

It COMPACTS the tobacco…

I don’t think you need a scientific study to figure that out. You can tell that the tobacco is compacted, because there is extra paper at the end after the cigarettes have been tapped.

This site is supposed to be about fighting ignorance, but it seems that the person who runs this site is much more interested in spreading idiocy.

When commenting on Cecil’s columns (or a SDSAB report), it is customary to provide a link: Will tapping a pop can keep the carbonation from exploding on opening? Plus: why do we tap cigarettes?

Not being a smoker myself, I’ll reserve judgement on why some smokers tap cigarettes. However, you say the OBVIOUS reason people do is that it compacts the tobacco. From there, I’d say the equally obvious question (at least to nonsmokers) is why? Various responses to Cecil’s column give equally various answers (and some contradict you completely, saying it loosens the tobacco).

P.S. Include all standard “Welcome to the board” whatnot in previous post. I’m not generally the welcome wagon, but I’m sure they’ll be around shortly when they wake up. :slight_smile:

(Now I have this burning need to know which end of an egg comes out of a chicken first. Damn you, Cecil!)

Well, sure it compacts the tobacco. I don’t know what the dweeb who said it loosens it was blithering on about. A quick feel of the hardness of the cigarette with tell you it got tighter, not looser. Of course, a rookie packer may not pack sharply enough, in which case any loose tobacco flings out the lighting end of the cigarrette and ends up in the bottom of the pack. (I’m not surprised Cecil couldn’t notice a difference - packing cigarrettes is a technique thing. No one does it well right away.) But the real question is WHY is it important to compact the tobacco, if it is important at all?

I smoked for roughly (counts fingers) 14 years. Yeah, I’m only 30. In that time, I packed my smokes about 50 times - when I wanted to kill time, make a point, or distract someone I was talking to. Then I started rolling my own smokes. Damn things needed to be packed, otherwise the tobacco fell out and the cherry burned unevenly - a canoe, in other herbs (hey, was that a smoking pun? :smiley: Damn! Was that another? )

With store bought smokes, while it’s true that packing well makes a space on the burning end, it is never needed. Those things are so tightly packed out of the pack, that they’re still tighter unpacked than handrolled smokes are packed. Marlboros simply don’t lose their cherries unless you’re flickin’ way too hard, they don’t go out in the rain unless you’re in a hurricane and they light very quickly, even for drunk girls in bars.

So I’ll cast my vote for: needed for loose handrolled, but probably not for well-handrolled. Everything else is a holdover, a misunderstanding or done for effect.

The reason for packing (and yes, there is a technique) is to tighten the cigarette but also to give you an extra drag or two. Well that’s what I was told way back in the day. Don’t know if it really did but I did it anyway. As an ex-smoker, looking at it now, seems like more of a smokers ritual than anything.

The “dweeb” was saying that if you tap the “lighting” end of the cigarette (instead of the butt end of the cigarette–which is what everyone else is talking about) you will loosen the tobacco at the end.

The dweeb’s point is that if you loosen the tobacco at that end, you will have more tobacco exposed to catch the dancing flame caused by the wind. It makes as much sense as tapping the butt end to compact the tobacco.

You’re right, but then I’m more confused than ever. I’ve never, ever, not once seen someone tap the open end of a cigarrette. It’s just so foreign a concept to me that I couldn’t visualize it accurately. Mea culpa.

My mother has chickens. The round end comes out first; the pointy end is “pinched off” by the egg-laying apparatus. Apparently the shell is very slightly soft when being laid (like some people I could… oh never mind) and hardens quickly when exposed to air.

Me, I always understood tapping to be about compacting the tobacco at the end you were going to put in your mouth (dating back to the times when all cigarettes were filterless) ie the idea was you were pushing the tobacco into the cigarette so that you didn’t end up with bits of tobacco in your mouth while smoking. Ergo, anyone tapping a filtered cigarette is a pretentious git.

Time back way back when I smoked (Camels, when that meant something) I tapped. I tapped the end that went in my mouth and it did compact the tobacco. I wouldn’t say as much as 3/8s of an inch; 1/8 maybe. And, yes, it did reduce the amount of loose tobacco that got into your mouth. Don’t know about any other ‘benefits’ and can’t see why a filter smoker would do it other than just doing it because other people did. The only time I’ve ever seen a cigarette fall off its filter was a Russian cigarette that caught fire at the wrong end when lit at the right end. This was also time back way back and could have been written off to superior Soviet workmanship.

One of my pet peeves is when somebody asks me for a cigarette, and I hand them an unopened pack, and they immediately start whacking it against their hand.

“Stop that!”

I don’t want my cigarettes to burn longer. Most places, I have to go outside to smoke, and I don’t want it to take any longer than necessary, especially in cold weather.

I’ve never had a problem with the cherry falling off, except with some “generic” cigarettes, like Basic.

The point is that Cecil is wrong when he says that it is stupid to pack cigarettes. There is obviously a point, and the point is to compact the tobacco.

However, I would also encourage people to roll their own smokes because commercial cigarettes don’t even taste like tobacco. They taste like bleach and arsenic.

In case, anyone missed this.

Bwahahahahahahaha… :smiley:
Best reply so far.

As a smoker and a packer, I think its just a habit/ritual. It packs the tobacco a little, but packing the tobacco has no effect on the length, lighting ability or taste of your cigarette. Its just something to do, like mashing your peas before you eat them.

AND all six of the reasons he listed were valid and the seventh was just a gratuitous slap at smokers. Cecil should be ashamed of himself, but he’s not. You can bank on that. Cecil is incapable of shame.

Also, WhyNot seems to have smoked fresher store-bought cigarettes than I did. Once the tobacco starts drying out the packing is much easier and more necessary for a satisfying smoke. Marlboros in a box are especially bad for this; I don’t know if they are less popular so they sit on the shelf too long or what but I’ve never had a fresh box.

I pack my smokes (marlboro, boxed, 72’s, blue label) mostly out of habit. The difference is almost unnoticable if I forget. But I became a packer when I smoked cheap brands, and there it made a big difference. The first time I saw someone pack their smokes I asked why, and they responded, “The same reason you pack a pipe.”
This made perfect sense to me, having smoked loosly packed pipes in my life, a nice tight pack is much better.