How Come Pipe Smoke Smells Good, But Cigarette Smoke Smells Like Ass?

I’ve known a couple of people who smoke tobacco with a pipe and several who smoke cigarettes. I’ve noticed that the smoke from the former tends to have a rather pleasant aroma, while the latter has a very foul stench. What is the reason for this?

If both involve burning tobacco, what accounts for the vast difference in odor?


Pipe tobacco is very likely selected for its odor.

Cigarettes come from the ass end of the tobacco leaf?

Aromatic pipe tobaccos are flavored with stuff like vanilla extract or fruit juices, while English blends are unflavored…just plain old tobacco, which would probably end up smelling like ass.

Actually, this is somewhat true.

The highest quality tobacco leaf is used for cigars. Next highest is used for pipe tobacco. Cigarettes are made of lower quality tobacco, effectively shredded tobacco leaves.

I agree on the pleasant aroma of pipe tobacco (and the foul smell of cigarette smoke — but with one revervation*).

When I was a kid, I thought pipe smoke, since the smell was so appealing, would also be pleasant to taste. It wasn’t at all, as I soon discovered. And I think everyone who’s tried it, will agree that inhaling pipe smoke — i.e. drawing it into the lungs — is most unpleasant.
*I stopped smoking in 2000, but the slight smell of cigarette smoke from someone puffing on a butt outside of, say, Office Max, is still extraordinarily tantalizing.

I try not to get on the bandwagon about the Google ads, but I just had to mention this one, which seems totally out of left field:

You, Fishy Vaginal Odor?

As a kid I thought cigaretts smelled bad, cigars and pipes smelt horriable. Now it’s more like pipes and cigars have a distinctive odor, not terriable, and sometimes a bit pleasent. Cigaretts smell like burrning leaves that just came out of the back side of a cow. I think as a kid it was more that cigar and pipe smoke seemes stronger then cigarettes that made me associate it w/ a horriable smell, well that and it was far more common back then to smoke cigaretts in public, so I was more used to it.

Umm, I seriously wonder what’s going on here. Pipe smoke is the worst of the worst of tobacco odors. Absolutely nauseating. I can’t stand to be in the same room even with an unlit pipe.

I don’t get this thread at all.

Most pipe smokers don’t inhale the smoke into their lungs, but only into their mouth. (And with good reason! If you tried inhaling something like perique I suspect you’d seize up and die right on the spot.)

And I must take issue with this:

To me, at least, it is flavored pipe tobaccos which smell bad. Any redeeming features of the tobacco are masked by the overwhelming artificial scent that is added. It is with unflavored tobaccos that the really nice scents come in. I once smoked a blend that a friend described as smelling like oatmeal raisin cookies.

I had the same experience. I thought that smoking a pipe would be pleasant. (I foolishly tried it because of our buddy J. R. R. Tolkien’s passages on pipe weed) I hated it.

I inhale pipe smoke. Oops.

Actually, there are pipe tobaccos out there that smell great, but for the smoker (for me at least) have a poor taste… One of the main brand sold here (Amsterdamer, I don’t know if it’s an international brand) is like that…

More of an IMHO comment, though…

It seems to me that, generally speaking, there’s a significant number of people who like pipe smoke better. From my purely anecdotal experience, you seem to be in the minority.

In addition to the fact that many (not all) pipe tobaccos are treated with scent-enhancers, there is also the fact that different strains of tobacco are used for different tobacco products. Yes, pipe tobacco is made from the most aromatic of tobaccos. Cigarettes are usually made from gold-leaf or bright-leaf tobaccos (grown around here; it’s about 48 hours since I watched the last harvest of the season being drawn up the road out front to a curing shed). I’m not sure which specific strains are used for pipe tobaccos, but loading a pipe with cured tobacco from around here would make it smell like a smoker’s lounge in a public building, not like the odor one expects from pipe tobacco.

I’ve never smoked. I’ve always thought cigarettes smelled terrible, but actually like the smell of most pipe tobacco and cigars.

Inert, non-burning cigars are especially appealing – running a good Cuban cigar under my nose once made me realize why people start smoking the damn things.

I’ve heard that cigarettes have chemical additives to aid proper burning (and, as we found out a few years ago, to make them more addictive) – could these additives be the foul-smelling part of cigarette smoke?

I also love the smell of pipe smoke and hate cigarette smoke. It’s nice to get some idea why.

This is exactly the kind of hard facts we come to GQ for.

Both smell like something’s on fire. Whether you find either smell pleasant, either in the air or on you, is a matter of opinion.

I started smoking a pipe at age 14 and later also cigars, and continued until about age 35 when quit cold turkey. I liked them both, but hated the taste and smell of cigarettes.

No question, a newly-opened tin of pipe tobacco really smells wonderful, but never tastes that good. Same for smell/taste of cigars.

In all the years of smoking, I had many, many people of both sexes tell me they liked the smell of the pipe, but there was never anybody that would mention they liked the smell of cigar smoke. Most hated it, including my poor wife, so I tried to smoke them when she was not around. I did smoke pipes all the time, even in the car. Maybe that’s why none of our three kids ever smoked. :slight_smile:

An aside for those who may be considering smoking: I smoked about a pound of pipe tobbaco a week and about five cigars a day for all those years. I read all the stories about cigarettes causing lung cancer, but only rarely did a story mention pipes or cigars. When they did, they said the incidence of lung cancer from those was low, but mouth and throat cancer was much higher.

As I never knew anybody to have those types of cancer, I just pooh-pood the risk. Then one day a close friend of mine, who always had a pipe in his mouth as I did, showed up at a meeting. I had not seen him for months.

He had just recoverd from the surgeries to remove his tongue, his palette and his gums! He could not talk coherently and had to keep a hankerchief over his mouth to wipe away the saliva that dribbled out. All he could eat was baby food.

I quit smoking the next day.

And, never let it be said that tobacco is not adictive. It’s been many years since I quit, but when somebody lights up a pipe or cigar now, I smell it and get an almost overpowering urge to light up again. But I don’t.

Being Native, I use, burn and occasionally smoke tobacco for offerings, ceremonies, etc. Traditionally, we use the whole leaf, grown and cut straight from the reserve. It’s not processed in any way. It has a nice smell when burned and the flavor is not bad. It’s markedly different from the tobacco in cigs. I think cigarettes may smell bad because of the additives and chemicals that are put into it. You can also make tobacco tea with the pure leaf. If you were to make tea out of commercial cigarette tobacco, you would be very ill.