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Tobacco Shock in the Northland

I returned to the states last night after spending the last four days at Christmas Market in Quebec City. This was my first visit to the provincial Quebec capital, and I found the old town section of this historical Canadian walled city where our hotel was located to be both beautiful and charming. I took an instant liking to most everyone I met, and they were tolerant of my very poor attempts at the French language. That said....

I asked the hotel concierge if he knew of a traditional tobacconist in the area where I might shop for a tin or two of pipe tobacco that I could take back to Washington with me. He pointed out a street a block and a half away and gave me a description of the location and said that would be the only place close by that may have what I was looking for. Since it was not far, I chose to go right away and regret that I left my phone/camera in my room and thus have no photos of what I will describe to you.

I walked into the small shop and noticed they mostly sold upscale lighters and the like. I didn't see any pipes or cigars displayed at all. Upon my inquiry, the gent behind the counter said let me go get so and so in the back room to speak with you, as he is a pipe smoker and speaks better English. The fella came out and I told him I might be interested in purchasing a couple of tins. He asked what particularly I wanted and I said I am partial to straight Virginias but I wanted to just take a look at his stock and if something caught my eye I would tell him.

"But, monsieur, the tobacco is in the wooden cabinet and you are not allowed to come behind the counter."

I said that was no problem, that I knew most of the tin colors and graphics of the tobaccos I liked and if I saw something I wanted I would just tell him to hand it to me. He said I would find that it was not so easy. He proceeded to swing open the two wooden doors of a floor-standing cabinet about six feet tall. I'm guessing there were maybe 100 tins in there on the shelves and every single one of them were identical 50 gram round tins in what can best be described as a dark, dark olive drab color with even darker writing. It truly looked like I was peering into the back of a military supply truck in some country at war on the other side of the world.

The proprietor brought several tins over to the counter and said here is Mac Baren and this is a Cornell & Diehl virginia. The two tins were absolutely identical, except for the very limited written brand name and blend name on each can lid, which was very hard for me to read. He brought over several match tobaccos, mostly produced by the Canadian company Brigham. Again in the same dark olive monotonous tin as all the others. Sensing the amazement in my face at all the identical tins, he said, yes, cigarettes too. He opened the cabinet next to the pipe tin cabinet, and there were rows and rows of cigarette packs, every one, every brand, in the same identical olive drab color package.

When I asked the employee why there were so few iconic pipe tobaccos available, and why they were having to rely on match tobaccos from a Canadian company so much, he said many tobacco companies have refused to do business any longer with Canada because of all the rules, regs and restrictions imposed upon them. It was government rule that made all tobacco packaging unappealing in Canada. The 50g tins in this particular shop sold for 35 to 37 Canadian dollars. That is about $28 US. A 100g tin of Mac Baren Virginia No. 1 can be purchased in the US for about $14, and even less on sale. That is a huge difference, and I sympathize with our Canadian B&B members.

I'll wrap this novel up, but I had never given much thought that a government such as Canada's would go to such extremes to abolish all smoking. Perhaps, with the socialized medicine available to its citizens, they felt they needed to take drastic measures to keep health related issues at bay. I can only say, looking at the POTD threads each day, that we in America are fortunate to have such great availability (except you few states), particularly with our handful of great online vendors. However, seeing what I just witnessed in Quebec, I may do a little more cellaring than I initially intended. You know.....bird in the hand and all that. You never know.
 
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I’m not totally sure but I believe it’s the same in Australia and New Zealand…

In the EU everything is covered in warnings and on cigarettes they banned some words like „light“ „mild“ etc.

91AA6442-80E2-4606-9181-ED0D9C22F357.jpeg



6EF3D418-3557-42CF-B7FD-260EACB5D950.jpeg


The only good thing is that tinned tobacco will keep with minimal effort so cellaring is the way to go!
 

Whisky

ATF. I use all three.
Staff member
I think we’ll start to see the same here in the States in the next 10-15yrs, if not earlier. There’s a shift towards preventative healthcare occurring right now with Health Ins. companies and Medicare/Medicaid. Once the Insurance companies really start to push our lawmakers over losses they’re taking due to the associated healthcare costs of Tobacco I think we’ll start to see laws like this on a national level. At the very least we’ll end up with taxes so high that only the affluent will be able to afford tobacco.
 
What is really "interesting" here in canada. Tobacco is hidden behind closed cabinets with no labels or graphics. But cannabis dispenseries can have it out on display with lots of nice imagery to promote different varieties.
Strange
Jay
 
What is really "interesting" here in canada. Tobacco is hidden behind closed cabinets with no labels or graphics. But cannabis dispenseries can have it out on display with lots of nice imagery to promote different varieties.
Strange
Jay

The reason for that is because dispensaries require you to be a certain age to enter. They got rid of branding and adds to not have younger people persuaded by them. Not much difference from other countries that don’t allow advertising or mascots on unhealthy foods and products.
 
I’m not totally sure but I believe it’s the same in Australia and New Zealand…

In the EU everything is covered in warnings and on cigarettes they banned some words like „light“ „mild“ etc.

View attachment 1570613


View attachment 1570615

The only good thing is that tinned tobacco will keep with minimal effort so cellaring is the way to go!
My knowledge of German stops at phrases from Von Ryan's Express. I know the "Smoking is deadly" part. What does the second part after the hyphen mean?
 
I’m not sure if they are the only ones, but in Germany/Austria we have a brand of canned cigars available. Pretty good Nicaraguan Robustos as well. I put one tin away a couple of years ago and might try it next summer against some fresh ones.


F588CC16-FCE7-4C58-B338-5F31B6FFCB36.png
 
I returned to the states last night after spending the last four days at Christmas Market in Quebec City. This was my first visit to the provincial Quebec capital, and I found the old town section of this historical Canadian walled city where our hotel was located to be both beautiful and charming. I took an instant liking to most everyone I met, and they were tolerant of my very poor attempts at the French language. That said....

I asked the hotel concierge if he knew of a traditional tobacconist in the area where I might shop for a tin or two of pipe tobacco that I could take back to Washington with me. He pointed out a street a block and a half away and gave me a description of the location and said that would be the only place close by that may have what I was looking for. Since it was not far, I chose to go right away and regret that I left my phone/camera in my room and thus have no photos of what I will describe to you.

I walked into the small shop and noticed they mostly sold upscale lighters and the like. I didn't see any pipes or cigars displayed at all. Upon my inquiry, the gent behind the counter said let me go get so and so in the back room to speak with you, as he is a pipe smoker and speaks better English. The fella came out and I told him I might be interested in purchasing a couple of tins. He asked what particularly I wanted and I said I am partial to straight Virginias but I wanted to just take a look at his stock and if something caught my eye I would tell him.

"But, monsieur, the tobacco is in the wooden cabinet and you are not allowed to come behind the counter."

I said that was no problem, that I knew most of the tin colors and graphics of the tobaccos I liked and if I saw something I wanted I would just tell him to hand it to me. He said I would find that it was not so easy. He proceeded to swing open the two wooden doors of a floor-standing cabinet about six feet tall. I'm guessing there were maybe 100 tins in there on the shelves and every single one of them were identical 50 gram round tins in what can best be described as a dark, dark olive drab color with even darker writing. It truly looked like I was peering into the back of a military supply truck in some country at war on the other side of the world.

The proprietor brought several tins over to the counter and said here is Mac Baren and this is a Cornell & Diehl virginia. The two tins were absolutely identical, except for the very limited written brand name and blend name on each can lid, which was very hard for me to read. He brought over several match tobaccos, mostly produced by the Canadian company Brigham. Again in the same dark olive monotonous tin as all the others. Sensing the amazement in my face at all the identical tins, he said, yes, cigarettes too. He opened the cabinet next to the pipe tin cabinet, and there were rows and rows of cigarette packs, every one, every brand, in the same identical olive drab color package.

When I asked the employee why there were so few iconic pipe tobaccos available, and why they were having to rely on match tobaccos from a Canadian company so much, he said many tobacco companies have refused to do business any longer with Canada because of all the chicken...t rules, regs and restrictions imposed upon them. It was government rule that made all tobacco packaging unappealing in Canada. The 50g tins in this particular shop sold for 35 to 37 Canadian dollars. That is about $28 US. A 100g tin of Mac Baren Virginia No. 1 can be purchased in the US for about $14, and even less on sale. That is a huge difference, and I sympathize with our Canadian B&B members.

I'll wrap this novel up, but I had never given much thought that a government such as Canada's would go to such extremes to abolish all smoking. Perhaps, with the socialized medicine available to its citizens, they felt they needed to take drastic measures to keep health related issues at bay. I can only say, looking at the POTD threads each day, that we in America are fortunate to have such great availability (except you few states), particularly with our handful of great online vendors. However, seeing what I just witnessed in Quebec, I may do a little more cellaring than I initially intended. You know.....bird in the hand and all that. You never know.

To misquote a famous man: First they came for the cigarette smokers, and I did not speak out, because I was not a cigarette smoker ...

FACT: Pipe smokers live longer than non-smokers. See, 1964 Surgeon General Report.

But that won't stop them.

Politics. A very delicate subject, indeed. I won't dive too deep. I view this kindly place as a tiny oasis from that insanity. But it does reach down even into our little gentlemanly avocation here. And it will increasingly do so. Everything has become politicized. Everything.

You get the government you vote for ... or sometimes not.

Between the politicians, bureaucrats, and the tort lawyers, my extension cords now have eleven stickers on them, warning me not to use them in water. All those warning stickers seem like a fire hazard to me.
 

luvmysuper

Sentenced to 40 hours "Community Service"
Staff member
There's a quote about Democracy by H.L. Mencken that applies perfectly.
 

AimlessWanderer

Remember to forget me!
The pouches that the loose tobaccos arrive in here, have the grotesque imagery and warnings dominating the appearance. The factory sealed pouches aren't much tamer, and the last tin of Solani Silver I bought, was heading in that direction. Factory sealed tins, still retain some of their visual differentiation, though heavily obscured.

Prices are not quite as bad as Canada either, with £17 to £19 GBP being the typical cost for 50g of pipe tobacco. If there was ever a time here for ordering in huge quantities, I missed it by quite a few years.

In comparison rhough, I can get a 1lb drum of nasal snuff for £30, and I was stocking up on it for less than £18/lb a few years back.
 
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