Preparing the Tobacco

Cutting stems

image of a stem cutter

Stems taken directly from the tobacco plant break and crumble easily, making them difficult to use in cigarettes. Adding moisture prevents easy crumbling. Moistened stems were mashed together to form a block called a "cheeseClick for a glossary definition" because of its consistency. This machine cuts the block finely so that the stems can be blended with the leaves. This process applied only to the thicker part of the stem; the thinner part went into reconstituted tobaccoClick for a glossary definition.