12 Countries that Produce the Best Tobacco in the World

In this piece, we will take a look at the 12 countries that produce the best tobacco in the world. For more countries, head on over to 5 Countries that Produce the Best Tobacco in the World.

An Analysis of the Tobacco Industry

Tobacco is one of the world's most popular guilty pleasures, and also one of the deadliest. There are several kinds of tobacco products that are consumed or smoked, and some of the more well known ones are cigarettes, cigars, and pipe tobacco. Tobacco consumption in the Western world has been on a consistent decline these past years, as growth in awareness about the harms of this plant and government efforts to limit tobacco advertisements have played their roles in turning away young people from the substance.

For instance, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlines that self reported cigarette smoking in the U.S. dropped from 73.4% to 59.5% between 2002 and 2019. At the same time, current smoking dropped to 18.2% from 27.4%, and as evidence to the highly addictive nature of cigarettes, with quitting getting harder the more one smokes, the CDC also outlined that the lowest cigarette smoking drops were among members of the population which were older than 50 years. Additionally, hinting towards education allowing people to better understand the risks of smoking, the government agency also found that current cigarette smoking dropped by the largest amount (14.5% to 8.1%) in people who had a college degree or a higher level of education. The CDC's study used a 20 cigarette pack as its basic indicator, and converted cigars, pipe tobacco, and roll your own tobacco to a 20 pack equivalent. Cumulatively, it discovered that a whopping 325 billion cigarette packs were sold in the U.S. in the last two decades, but yet again, sales declined from 21 billion packs to 11 billion packs per year between 2000 and 2020. In per capita terms, an average American had initially bought 101 packs per year (smoking almost two packs a week) to 42 packs per year (less than a pack per week) for a healthier trend.

Shifting gears to the World Health Organization (WHO), the agency's data shows that globally, tobacco users declined only by 200 million between 2015 to 2020. The WHO also expects that the number of tobacco users, which stood at 1.3 billion as of 2021, will drop to 1.27 billion by 2025 as more countries sign up for state funded smoking cessation initiatives. Additionally, it also points out that a staggering 80% of the 1.3 billion tobacco users live in low and middle income countries and that 22.3% of the global population had used tobacco in 2020. As a rather somber fact, the WHO reveals that tobacco is responsible for up to 8 million deaths each year, with 7 million resulting from direct use and an equally concerning 1.2 million resulting from second hand smoke.

With these details in mind, and especially as their lucrative Western markets start to dwindle, one has to wonder what the world's biggest tobacco companies such as British American Tobacco p.l.c. (NYSE:BTI), Japan Tobacco Inc. (OTCMKTS:JAPAF), Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE:PM), and China Tobacco International (HK) Company Limited (HKG:6055.HK) are doing to make sure that their revenues don't fall. Well, for most of these firms, electronic cigarettes are all the buzz. These 'cigarettes' do not burn any plant to produce nicotine, and most involve heating a liquid to generate a vapor that mimics a cigarette's nicotine delivery.

Owing to the strong attention by the giants and coupled with the rising interest in cigarette alternatives, it is unsurprising that the global electronic cigarette market is expected to be one of the fastest growing markets out there. For instance, a research report by Grand View Market Research believes that this segment will grow at a whopping compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30.6% from 2023 to 2030.

Big tobacco is playing a strong role here as well, as Altria Group, Inc. (NYSE:MO)'s Juul Labs is a dominant player in the market, with its pod device outselling the traditional tank based electronic cigarettes. Juul commanded 28% of the electronic cigarette market in 2022, but it wasn't the largest player. Yet, the fight is still big tobacco vs big tobacco, as the largest e-cigarette brand Vuse, which saw its market share grow to 39.7% from an earlier 39%, is owned by Reynolds American - a subsidiary of British American Tobacco p.l.c. (NYSE:BTI). If FDA-approved products stoke your attention, then the third largest player in the market - NJoy - is the only firm that has an approved pod device. And to further cement big tobacco's dominance, the fourth - Fontem - is owned by Imperial Brands PLC (LON:IMB.L).

Our Methodology

We used a subjective methodology and consulted several sources to find out the top countries that produce the best tobacco in the world.

Each country was awarded a point every time tobacco from the country appeared during our research. TobaccoReviews' list of pipe tobaccos rated 3.9 or higher, Cigaraficionado's list of top 25 best cigars, Famous Smoke's top cigar brands, Forbes' Tobacconist ranking, WealthGorilla and CNBC's cigarette rankings, and Reddit (1,2) were used to assign the points. In case of a tie, global tobacco exports in 2021 are used to separate the countries.

For a more detailed look at the world's top tobacco exporters, head on over to 12 Countries that Export the Most Tobacco in the World.

Countries that Produce the Best Tobacco in the World

12. Netherlands

Insider Monkey's Score: 1

Tobacco Exports in 2021: $1.1 billion

The Netherlands is a European country with one of the highest GDP per capita in the world at $68,572. At the same time, it is also one of the world's top exporters of a wide variety of goods and services. In fact, when compiling our list, the French Republic, or France, also scored one point, but its tobacco exports of $399 million were a fraction of the Netherlands' exports. The Dutch tobacconist The House of Hajenius is one of the oldest and well known tobacconists in the world. Additionally, Koninklijke Theodorus Niemeyer BV is another Dutch tobacco company that has been in business for more than a century.

11. Kingdom of Denmark

Insider Monkey's Score: 2

Tobacco Exports in 2021: $329 million

The Kingdom of Denmark is an Empire with territories in Europe and North America. Its largest constituent territory is Denmark, and the country is another rich European nation. Like other developed countries, smoking in Denmark has been decreasing in popularity over the past couple of years. Denmark is known for some unique pipe tobacco blends, and it exported $329 million of tobacco products in 2021.

10. Republic of Honduras

Insider Monkey's Score: 3

Tobacco Exports in 2021: $64 million

The Republic of Honduras, or simply Honduras, is a Central American country with a per capita income of $6,769. Honduras is famous all over the world for its cigars - and this is also why it makes an appearance on our list. Some of the most well known cigar brands in the country are Gran Habano, Punch, Camacho, Alec Bradley, Puros Indios, and Hoyo de Monterrey. The best Honduran cigars include Rocky Patel Number 6, Plasencia Cosecha 146, and Camacho Nicaraguan Barrel Aged.

9. Republic of Ecuador

Insider Monkey's Score: 3

Tobacco Exports in 2021: $86 million

The Republic of Ecuador is a South American country. In the tobacco world, it is known primarily for its cigars, some of which are world renowned. There's a long list of some of the best cigars that have Ecuadorian tobacco - with a few of the notable ones being the Camacho Liberty 2020 (wrapped in Ecuadorian paper), Davidoff 702 (wrapped in a custom Ecuadorian leaf), and Hoyo De Monterrey La Amistad Black (with a one of a kind Ecuadorian Sumatra Oscuro wrapper).

8. Swiss Confederation

Insider Monkey's Score: 3

Tobacco Exports in 2021: $457 million

The Swiss Confederation, or Switzerland, is an advanced European country. One of the most famous Swiss cigarettes, and one that is smoked all over the world, is Davidoff. Davidoff also produces cigars (with one wrapped in Ecuadorian paper listed above), and Switzerland is also home to the global headquarters of Japan Tobacco and the operational headquarters of Phillip Morris.

7. Canada

Insider Monkey's Score: 4

Tobacco Exports in 2021: $142 million

Canada is a highly developed North American country with a large land border with the United States, which is its largest trading partner. In the tobacco industry, Canada is known for making highly regarded pipe tobacco. Some of the most highly rated Canadian pipe tobaccos are Compton's of Galashiels - Reserve #21, Blatter & Blatter - Danish Slices (Tranches Danoises), Compton's of Galashiels - Balkan, Mr. B's - Rise and Shine (D), and Compton's of Galashiels - Mixture #10.

6. Republic of Cuba

Insider Monkey's Score: 4

Tobacco Exports in 2021: $274 million

The Republic of Cuba, or Cuba, is an island country located at the juxtaposition of the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic Ocean. The name Cuba is nearly synonymous with cigars, and therefore it's no surprise that Cuba is also ranked high on our list, coming third to Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. Some of the best known Cuban cigars are the Ramon Allones Superiores LCDH (only 50,000 made in a year), H. Upmann Magnum 54, The Churchill of Romeo y Julieta (Winston Churchill's favorite), and The Montecristo N°4.

Click to continue reading and see 5 Countries that Produce the Best Tobacco in the World.

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Disclosure: None. 12 Countries that Produce the Best Tobacco in the World is originally published on Insider Monkey.