So I started smoking again

I quit about 5 years ago. I was doing pretty good. There was always that nagging itch in the back of my mind, though. I never really stopped wanting one. A few weeks ago I just said fuck it and bummed one off of a buddy. A few days later I bummed a couple more at a party. The next day I bought a pack. I've been rehooked again ever since. So what does this have to do with survival?

Smokers want cigarettes. If you're a smoker then you'll want to be able to smoke if the supply lines get cut. If you're not a smoker then you might have to deal with those edgy assholes that haven't had a smoke in a few days. Let's face it. Tobacco will be one hell of a trade item during a crisis. If you're the guy with the fix then people will rely on you for something. One cool thing about tobacco is that it's one of those things that people won't necessarily kill for. If you trade off a few boxes of ammo to some guy then there's the possibility that he'll use it to come looking for more. If you trade him some food then he might just put two and two together and realize that if you've got enough extra to trade then there's plenty more where that came from. Of course we've all heard someone say "I'd kill for a cigarette right now" but let's face it...if worse comes to worse there aren't a whole lot of people out there who will be willing to put their life on the line for a few cancer sticks.

So what are your options if you actually want to try to use cigarettes as a trade item? You could always pick up an extra pack or two every time you go to Wal-Mart. If you want to go all out you could get a carton. If you're a smoker then they'll probably just be a part of your normal preps. Just buy the cheapest ones that you can. If you already smoke then you'll probably pass on smoking up your stash until you're really desperate and if you don't smoke, I can assure you that if you ever need to use them as a barter item people won't care what brand they are.

I used to have a cigarette sitting in a drawer that I always kept around just in case I ever knew that the world was going to end. It was more of a joke to myself but I kept it anyway. Well one day a smoker friend of mine was jonesing for a smoke so I offered him that one. This thing was at least five years old but he smoked it without complaint and, besides being kinda harsh, he said that it wasn't so bad. So what's the morale of this story? Cigarettes store pretty well and when a smoker wants a cigarette they don't care how long it's been lying around. The best way to store them is to toss them in the freezer and forget about them. If you don't have the freezer space then just find a dry, cool spot for them and they should be fine.

Another option is to roll your own. Bulk bags of tobacco store just as well as cartons but they cost a LOT less. You can probably go to your local cigarette store and find it for less than $20 a pound. That's enough tobacco for 2-3 cartons (depending on how tightly you pack your smokes). There are also places that you can get it online. You can get a cigarette packing machine for about $5-$10 and the empty tubes with filters are less than $3 for 200. This is how I do it. I can make a pack of cigarettes in about 15 minutes. A carton costs around $10. If you actually plan on smoking them you can try different types of tobacco until you find the stuff that you like. Even the expensive, premium tobaccos will end up costing less than a carton of premium cigarettes. There's also the option of getting a few packs of papers and storing them with your tobacco stash. I know a lot of smokers that would pass on smoking altogether rather than smoking a filterless roll your own, though. Offer those same people ANYTHING with a filter after a few stressful days without a cigarette and they'll love you forever.


Staying Alive said…
TOPS makes a machine for about $42 that will roll a filtered tube cigarette to just about any density you wish. Tobacco is about $7 a bag which translates to about a carton. Filtered tubes are less than $2 for 200. These bags are sealed at the factory. They hold up for a very long time.

You can also buy one pound bags of tobacco, You can get anything you want as far as flavor is concerned.

I too am a tobacco junkie but will probably quit when the SHTF. The stash of tobacco you have on hand will be worth a lot of weeding in your garden, firewood cutting, water hauling, etc.

You will be plagued by people knocking on your door at odd hours. This is a major drawback to being a 'dealer'. But the return on investment is there if you want it.

Anonymous said…
You can also buy tobacco seeds and grow your own. Have not tried this but given it alot of thought. This and the knowledge about growing would be a very highly valued commodity post SHTF.
Be careful if you try to grow your own. There are probably laws in place that require permits, extra taxes, etc. If it's a slow slide and people start coming to you for a fix then you'll definitely be in trouble when the guberment finds out that you're growing it to distribute.
Anonymous said…
Hi I don't know anything about these substitutes for tobacco, but in a crisis maybe they would take the edge off. Kathryn Basic Smoking Herbs
Melissa Leavitt
Tuesday, April 30, 2002

I copied and pasted this article and since it could be freely reproduced and distributed here is it is. The permission is at the bottom of the page. This artice does not mention mullien but it can be smoked I hope this has helped. However some of these mixtures I would used at my own risk, some can cause side effects. I also found that one can smoke hops, marshmallow, red clover, catnip , mugwort.

Here's a rundown on herbs you can use as tobacco substitutes:

Bearberry leaves (Uva-ursi)
Buckbean leaves (Menyanthes trifoliata)
Chervil leaves (choerophyllum sativum)
Coltsfoot leaves (Tussilago farfara)
Corn Silk (Stigneta maidis)
Dittany leaves (Cunila mariana)
Eyebright leaves (Euphrasia officinalis)
Life everlasting leaves (Antennaria dioicia)
Marjoram leaves (Origanum marjorana)
Mullien leaves (Verbascum thaspus; said to give relief from asthma.)
Raspberry leaves (Rubus strigosus)
Rosemary leaves (Rosmarinus officinals; mixed w/ coltsfoot to relieve asthma
Sage leaves (Salvia officinalis; said to give relief from asthma.)
Wood betony leaves (Betonica officinalis)
Yerba santa (Eriodictyon californicum)
Aromatic Smoking Herbs

Try adding any of these herbs and spices to your herbal tobacco to give it added aroma:

Allspice berries (spicy aroma)
Licorice root (sweet)
Cascarilla bark (musky)
Melilot flowers (vanilla aroma)
Cubeb berries (spicy aroma)
Sassafras bark (sweet)
Deers tongue leaves (vanilla aroma)
Thyme leaves (incenselike)
Eucalyptus leave (menthol aroma)
Tonka beans (vanilla aroma)
Lavender flowers (very fragrant)
Woodruff leaves (vanilla aroma)
Intoxicating Smoking Herbs

Finally here is a list of some of the common herbs that are being used today to give herbal tobacco that something extra. Unlike cannabis, all these are legally obtainable (as of the time of this writing), but some of them at least could be harmful taken to excess. As with all powerful herbs an spices ,any good thing can be overdone.

Boldo leaves (rather harsh on the throat)
Broom tops (be careful with these; they can be dangerous)
Catnip leaves
Damiana leaves
Ginseng leaves
Hydrocotyle asiatica minor (stimulant in small doses, but narcotic in large)
Lobelia leaves (herbalists use these in asthma preparations; I wouldnt recommend them because, like broom tops, they can be dangerous.)
Passionflower leaves
Poppyheads and leaves (if they're whit poppies, then they're opium and very illegal; however, legal red poppies also have a mild effect)
Wild lettuce juice (also known as lettuce opium; need i say more?)
Yarrow leaves

This concludes this excerpt. I hope it proves useful or interesting to you.

To the best of our knowledge, the text on this page may be freely reproduced and distributed.
Marine 83 said…
I tried growing tabacco this year just for this purpose. I started out ok but I ended up killing them. Will try again next year. I don't smoke anymore but I remember what it was like to want one and not have one. Rawles objects to tabacco on moral grounds but I have no problem being a dealer of that particular vice. In short I agree that it is a great trade item if you could grow your own.
Larry said…
I smoked for years & tried to quite many times, a couple of times I was off of them for several years. I finally did it when I was about 55.

When I was in the Navy in the early 50's we could get "Sea stores" which had been stored from WWII. The cartons were covered with wax & the "Lucky Strikes" had "Green Labels".
They were a little dry but OK.

We would carry & smoke regular cigarettes for our selves or close buddies & a bag of "Bull Durum" laced with pencil shavings for habitual moochers.

We only made $30.00 a month at that time. I came out in 56 a 3rd. class with 4yrs. at only $130.00 a month so we had incentive to save our money.

One time we got a liberty in Pearl & could only scrape up $12.00 between 4 of us & I had to hawk a watch to do that.

Larry in E OH
Anonymous said…
First of all, stop smoking - the most preventable cause of death. It's ironic that you and Staying Alive have survival blogs yet smoke this drug that costs alot of money and needlessly endangers the survival of you and those around you.

In a survival emergency you may want all the lung power you can muster to save yourself and your family. I don't know how much you guys smoke but I will pit my aerobic capacity against any smoker any day.

I agree about tobacco being a great trade item. Addicts will often ive the last food from child's hands in exchange for another hit. While tobacco may not be this valuable, some people would certainly be willing to give up more than they should for it. Try to make sure that does not include you!
It may be a preventable cause of death but what isn't these days? If you eat out all the time then you're putting yourself in just as much danger of keeling over at an early age. If you never get off your butt to do some exercise then you're you've got the same problem. You drink too much? Ta ta. If some dumbass on the road has your number one day then that could be all she wrote. One thing about smoking is that as preventable as it is it's also something that I like doing. That's why I do it. There's just something relaxing about it and there's nothing that can replace it.
Anonymous said…
I wish I could quit. I got off them for a year once, and same thing happened to me. I have not been able to quit since. I have even tried all the new medications.

As for stockpiling tobacco, cigars. A humidor will keep cigars a very long time. I know it is not the same, but it is still nicotine and smoke. Perhaps the worst ever substitute, but at the same time it will be fresh. I was thinking about it the other day when that particular idea popped into my mind. Your post got me to remember it. I still rather just quit . . .
scoutinlife said…
Smokes would be a great trade item thats for sure... I'm trying to quit again myself I wish I had started back.
West, By God said…
I quit, but the wife didn't, so in a survival situation my life would depend on getting her nicotine ;)

As for growing your own... its a good idea. I've done it with varying degrees of success. However, you can't just cut off a leaf, dry it and smoke it. Well, you can, but it'll suck. You also need to learn how to cure and process raw tobacco.

Since I quit, I keep a whole pack in my workshop just to nag me, so I can re-enforce in my own head how much is sucked to quit and how much I DON'T want to go through that again. But it also provides an "end of the world" smoke...

It might also be worth noting that filterless cigarettes make good slow-burn fuses...
Anonymous said…
Each year more than 1 million people die from tobacco and Throat Cancer related illnesses. Because of advertisements and other forms of media that build up smoking, bounteous teens think it is hip and cool to smoke. Now more than ever bounteous teens are getting addicted to nicotine and cigarettes.
Trishymouse said…
I say that life is short. Enjoy it. Smoke if you want to. To heck with what others say. 'nuff said.
Anonymous said…
Smoked for 20 years , one day got the flu and decided to quit at the same time. Somewhere in there I smoked a pack and decided I didn't like it anymore haven't had one again. Haven't had a cig in over a year , I miss the ritual and everything that went along with smoking, I don't miss breathing in poisons though. I couldn't believe how much stuff came out of my lungs when I quit for months! If the world was going down in flames though A smoke sure would be nice .
Anonymous said…
Bob Packwood Chantix You joker the top myself drug, do a little research, pat yourself on the back for that one banned by american aviation society WHY? whats your point? people die from smoking, who didn't know that? people die from crossing the road, we know that too!! you clearly arn't a smoker, we don't care about the, it will kill you statement!!! We know that when we start and we really don't care, most only quit because the government now uses it to rip us off, so they can claim a little more for themselves. i'm an ex smoker and would start again tomorrow if the government hadn't drove the cost up so high. I hate those who have an opinion on smoking who aren't smokers, ironic they are usually weak individuals with pathetic lives.
Why shouldn't i smoke its my life, who are you to tell me i should stop, get stuffed Bob. I'll give you this one for free if you enjoy smoking, don't ever let anyone make you feel guilty, your already paying for people like Bob who bleed the system dry by living 10 more years than smokers, but don't pay 10 years more tax and contribute significantly less in tax than the average smoker.
Anonymous said…
I guess I'm just really weird. I had one smoke after quitting for 33 days, but I don't have the urge to smoke anymore, but I did up til I smoked again. It was really weird too, it was like my first time smoking, it felt weird in my lungs and I was coughing a lot. I didn't even enjoy it. I have no clue why, guess I'm just lucky.

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