Just off the top of your head, what are the strongest cigarettes you can think of? “Belomor? Well, yeah, except for the fact that they were cigarettes, that’s right. There was plenty of nicotine and tar in Belomor. What else? Cuban Ligeros! Yes, they were very strong cigarettes. But I can’t say exactly how much tar and nicotine was in it, unfortunately. What else?
Camel of the ’90s? Gitanes? Modern Cuban Criollos? Yes, these are all pretty strong cigarettes, but they won’t make this top. Why not? Because they are not the strongest cigarettes, rather their strength is normal and does not reach the extremes.
However, this review cannot claim to be 100% objective. Unfortunately, the official publication of tar-characteristics began only in the 1970s, and not in all countries. So a huge layer of cigarette brands known before the 70’s will remain “out of the picture”. Indonesian kreteks, in which tar values are exorbitantly inflated not by tobacco, but by additives to it, will not be included in this peculiar top.
What kind of tar do we take as the minimum? Well, as a tribute, the same “Belomorkanal” – tar 20.9 mg, nicotine 4.2 mg. Moreover, this is already cigarettes 2000’s, as the characteristics of Soviet cigarettes and not known precisely, and, they say, they “floated” in a fairly wide range. But this “Belomor” holds the absolute record for the ratio of tar to nicotine. Moreover, these cigarettes were not yet the most resinous. So…
And while no one has surpassed Belomor in nicotine content, there are better brands in terms of resin volume. The closest to the famous cigarettes was the French Gitanes of the 1980s, adored by many: 21.7 mg resin, 1.46 mg nicotine. By the way, the Gitanes of the 90’s was already lighter (14 mg tar, 1 mg nicotine), and the cigarettes of the mid-2010’s have “slipped” to the usual 10 mg tar and 0.8 mg nicotine. So the French legend is forever in the past.
Close in tar were the Swiss Player’s Medium Navy Cut (21 mg resin, 1.7 mg nicotine) of the 1980s and Japanese cigarettes Peace Filter Original (21 mg resin, 1.9 mg nicotine), the latter, however, are still on sale. True, we can only buy them at the dealers and for fabulous money.
At the next step of our top were many versions of Prima, produced both in Russia in the 2000s and in the CIS countries. The resin values of these versions were usually 22 mg, and the nicotine volume “floated” between 1.2 and 1.6 mg.
The lower end of this range belongs to the Chinese cigarettes of the late 1990s: Future (22 mg tar, 1.2 mg nicotine) and Yinxiang (22 mg tar, 1.4 mg nicotine). But the top “bar” confidently reached the South African cigarettes Rembrandt Van Rijn Filter De Luxe (tar 22 mg, nicotine 1.8 mg).
But the group with a tar content of 23 mg. belongs entirely to the brands produced in the 1980s. Later cigarettes with the same values were no longer available. So, what do we have here? At the bottom of the segment – Norwegian South State (resin 23 mg., nicotine 1.4 mg.) and Teddy (resin 23 mg., nicotine 1.5 mg). At the top – issued for Sweden John Silver Plain (resin 23 mg., nicotine 1.8 mg) and South African Texan Filter (resin 23 mg., nicotine 1.9 mg).
Of course this is not the limit, but the next step is not so numerous. At the value of 24 mg. resin found Danish cigarettes Snowflake Filter from the 1970s (nicotine 1.9 mg.) and Danish, but from the 90s – Viking Blended (nicotine 2.1 mg.). At the back of the three is supposedly the Belgian brand Bonté with a rather unusual tar-value ratio: 24.9 mg resin, but only 1 mg nicotine.
The range of brands with 25 mg tar is much wider, and the “lightest” sample was Chesterfield King Size produced for Sweden in the early 1980s – 25 mg tar, 1.4 mg nicotine. To be fair, it is worth saying that almost the same tar cigarettes of this brand were produced for France, but the rest of the world was satisfied with a “modest” range from 14 mg. to 17 mg. of tar. By the 90’s, though, the tar had “settled down” to 14 mg. of tar and 1 mg. of nicotine, and later… Well, you know what happened to Chester in the noughties and beyond.
However, Chesterfield in this segment occupies the lowest boundary and it is somewhat bypassed by the nicotine content of the German North State King Size and the French Gauloises Caporal (nicotine 1.5 mg) at the end of the 1980s. The undisputed leadership in the group can safely be given to the French cigarettes Francaise Papier Mais (nicotine 1.7 mg.) from the 80s and Celtique Caporal (nicotine 1.75 mg.) from the late 70s.
Yes, the French know a lot about strong tobacco! However, in the next step, no French brands were found with a tar content of 26 mg. The “lightest” in this range were the Swiss Turkish Special (nicotine 1.4mg). The strongest are the German Orienta (nicotine 1.6mg) from the 1990s, North State (nicotine 1.7mg) produced for Finland in 1978 and the Swedish Filterless Ritz Crest (nicotine 1.9mg) from the early 1980s.
Stamps exceeding 26 mg of tar per cigarette were literally isolated instances. So 27 mg. of tar and rather low 1.1 mg. of nicotine are contained in South African Simon Arzt cigarettes.
The Norwegian Turmac Bleu is a little more powerful and stronger – 28 mg resin, 1.8 mg nicotine.
The Swiss Vernon of the 1980s is already aiming for extreme amounts of resin – 34.6 mg resin, 2 mg nicotine.
But not surprisingly, the highest tar and nicotine values are once again broken out by cigarettes made by the French Seita and at the top of the most tarred are: Boyards Caporal Ordinaire Papier Mais (37 mg tar, 2.2 mg nicotine)
And even more intense variety of the same brand – Boyards Caporal Mais with an extreme level of resin at 45 mg. per cigarette and a record nicotine volume of 2.95 mg. With such values Boyards Caporal could be not only smoked but also eaten)))
As a consolation prize to a couple of leaders can be added American cigarettes Andron Specials, after all they contained the same 45 mg of tar. However, the diameter of the cigarettes was much larger than the nominal size for cigarette formats and more reminiscent of a small cigar.
That’s the review for today. I hope you enjoyed it. And for the finale, can you remember what are the strongest cigarettes you’ve smoked? I’m waiting for your answers in the comments! Very interesting to read!