Difference between tobacco and shag

Who can say how tobacco differs from makhorka? This question is not as simple as it seems at first glance. The fact is that the answer lies, as it were, in two planes - purely botanical and everyday colloquial. Let's take a closer look at both areas.

Tobacco and makhorka in common use

In Russia for a long time it is believed that tobacco and makhorka are almost synonymous. Only makhorka is such a very coarse tobacco, which can be found only in a loose form, and besides, it strongly “tears the throat”. And tobacco is thinner, weaker. Makhorka is suitable for rolling cigarettes or, in extreme cases, for stuffing pipes (and then only in exceptional cases), and tobacco is used for cigarettes and also for pipes.

In general, the difference between tobacco and makhorka in the everyday sense ends there; only a few touches remain to be added to the portrait of both. A close "relative" of makhorka is "samosad", and, as the name implies, this is tobacco planted in its own garden. But the tobacco grown in Russia is of low quality, the reason for which is two main factors. The first is that tobacco is a thermophilic plant and north of the 55th parallel (approximately the Moscow-Chelyabinsk axis and further to the east) it is practically not grown in our country, and the second, which is a consequence of the first, is the absence of a tobacco cultivation culture. "Pipe" tobacco is a 100% imported product; is usually of fairly high quality and is often flavored.


Having defined the everyday meaning of the words "tobacco" and "makhorka", let's see if there is a difference between them in the botanical sense. It turns out there is! In botany, tobacco is called a genus of perennial and annual grasses belonging to the nightshade family - that is, it is a close relative of potatoes and tomatoes. The well-known potato pest, the Colorado potato beetle, also eats tobacco leaves with an excellent appetite.

And makhorka is one of the plant species belonging to the genus "tobacco", in Latin - Nicotiana rustica. Its main difference from other tobacco products is unpretentiousness. Due to its high resistance to unfavorable climatic conditions, the border of the distribution area of ​​makhorka is located much farther north than that of other representatives of the genus. In addition, much lower requirements are imposed on makhorka than on tobacco in general.

The history of tobacco penetration into Europe is traditionally associated with the era of the great geographical discoveries, when the sailors of Columbus brought an unfamiliar plant, and with it the habit of inhaling tobacco smoke. Interestingly, if tobacco in general is used almost exclusively for the manufacture of cigarettes, cigarettes and cigars, there are several other uses for shag. Due to the high content of citric acid in the leaves, it serves as a raw material for the production of this valuable food product. In addition, ingredients are extracted from shag to produce nicotine sulfate (a pest control agent) and niacin (a vitamin involved in many redox processes in the human body).


To summarize, what is the difference between tobacco and makhorka. This table contains both the differences and similarities between them in two aspects - botanical and everyday.

Tobacco Makhorka
Botanical classificationGenus of plants of the family SolanaceaeSpecies of herbaceous plants of the genus Tobacco
ApplicationAlmost exclusively - for the production of cigarettes, cigarettes and cigars, it is also produced in small quantities "in bulk" for stuffing pipesAs a raw material for the tobacco industry, and also used for the production of citric acid, insecticides (means for controlling pests) and nicotinic acid (vitamin B3)
DistributionPrimary range - areas with a warm climate in South and North America; it is now cultivated all over the world, but north of the 55th parallel it is not grown, since the short growing season greatly reduces the quality of tobaccoIt can grow in higher latitudes than other members of the genus, due to its resistance to unfavorable climatic conditions