DOCUMENT  0234-70

[ Main Site Menu ] [ Back to Gente Menu ] [ Back to History Menu ] [ Index to Site Documents ]


[GENTE Magazine, Vol. 1, Havana, January 5, 1958, No. 1, American Edition]

ADVERTIZEMENT - Perfectos Habana Cigars


Cubans are among the smoking-est people in the world.  This is natural for a country which has been endowed by Divine Province and Mother Nature with a combination of soil and climate which produces what is universally recognized as "the best tobacco in the world".

In general, the six million inhabitants of Cuba smoke 314 million cigars, 500 million packages of Cuban cigarettes, some 90 pounds of cut tobacco for pipes and some 16 million packages of imported cigarettes (largely from the U.S.) per year.

In somewhat more detail, cigarette consumption statistics from both Havana and Washington, D.C., show that in 1956 the Cuban people smoked 616,800,000 packages of both Cuban and American cigarettes, for which they paid $66.7 million Cuban pesos which are equivalent to American dollars.

Of this amount American cigarettes comprised 2.75 percent in volume and 11 percent in price.

The Cuban cigarettes, which are packaged in light cardboard, are produced in varying brands: "superfinos", regular and large sizes and similar to American brands; rounded cigarettes, regular size but somewhat heavier; ovulate, regular size but oval in form and thicker than the rounded variety; extra large,

Page 71
PHOTO CAPTION - A Farmer glance at big tobacco leafs
PHOTO CAPTION - A View of a big tobacco plantation in Pinar del Rio, where the best tobacco of the world.

similar to the American "king-size" brands; cork tipped; and filter cigarettes which come packed in paper cartons with metallic paper inside and a cellophane exterior.  Also produced in small quantities is light-leaf tobacco.

There is no doubt that Cuban cigarettes are considered to be the purest and healthiest in the world and are also lower in cost than other brands.  They contain a minimum of nicotine, are made of rice paper and the majority of the brands are subjected to a long cleaning and purifying process.


Despite the fact that Cubans have at their fingertips the finest tobacco in the world, from which their own local brands of cigarettes are made, the consumption of American cigarettes has risen markedly in recently years.

This consumption has risen from 2,200,000 packages in 1939 to 3,000,000 in 1940, 6,200,000 in 1945, 13,900,000 in 1950 and 16,800,000 in 1956.

In Cuba many doctors have proven, and demonstrated to their patients, that the American cigarette produces a slow intoxication which gives rise, among other things, to chronic bronchitis, nervous disorders, finger stain caused by the burning of cigarette pitch, etc.

The consumption of American cigarettes has increased also among women, and this gives rises to another aspect of the question, namely:


With smoking on the increase among Cuban women, statistics compiled by international scientists in recent years have cited a type of check or physical stagnation, in some 70,000 youths of both sexes annually as they pass the age of 18.

This process has been described in a scientific report by a German, Dr. P. Bernhartz, among others.  Dr. Bernhartz, finding were published under the little "Medizinische Monatsschrift" in Stuggart and deal with the consequences of the smoking habit on the female organism.

According to the doctor's report, women who have adopted the smoking habit suffer menstrual irregularities in 38 percent of the 478 cases studied, while among women who do not smoke such irregularities are limited .to 13 percent. Sterility, or the impossibility of having children, can also result from cigarette smoking by reducing the stimulant secreted by the sexual gland, the report states.

Dr. Bernhartz' observations revealed that the effects of nicotine on the nervous and

Page 72
PHOTO CAPTION - A tobacco "twister" working at factory

vascular (blood vessels) systems can cause abortions and even premature births.

Nicotine also has a special effect on the sympathetic nerves and the capillary system, or the small blood vessels. Eventually, the effects of nicotine react throughout the nervous system and the endocrine glands (internal secretion).

One of the principal reasons a women cannot stand as much cigarette smoke as a man is that her nervous and vascular systems react much faster and unfavorably to the nicotine poison.  Reactions in the thyroid gland occur seven times more frequently in women that smoke than in women that do not

Thirty-three percent of the women that smoke were found to be suffering from hyper thyroid, as compared to only 5.4 percent of women who did not smoke, while seven percent of the smokers actually had hyper thyroid and only 4 percent of the non-smokers were so afflicted.

The ovaries in particular are affected in many women who smoke, due to the fact that the thyroid gland does not function adequately.

Sexual desire (libido) is also reduced by nicotine, causing one of the damaging effects to which Dr. Bernhartz refers.  Even signs of premature aging were noted in two-thirds of the regular women smokers, while in non-smokers similar signs were noted in only four percent.

Among the smokers the beginning of the menopause (change of life) was premature in 20 percent of the cases observed, as compared with only two percent of the group which did not smoke and Masculine frequency in the smokers than in the non-smokers.

All these observations and findings are reported in detail in the scientific work entitled "Injurious Effects of Cigarette Smoking in Women", by Dr. P. Bernhartz, "Medizinische Monatsschrift", Germany, Page 58, 3-1-80, January 1949.



More than 20 years ago Dr. Bauer, a famous American medical man and author of several studies on thetoxic effects of tobacco, published a book entitled "The Poison of Nicotine".  In this book, and with the permission of the American Medical Journal, he revealed the results of studies made to determine the quantity of nicotine in each of the American brands.  The results show the following nicotine percentages in the following assorted brands:

[Brand Name] Percent
Piet Mount 3.11
Fatima 2.79
Chesterfield 2.53
Camel 2.21
Mecca 2.18
Old Gold 2.17
Marboro 1.94
Lucky Strike 1.88
Murad 1.52
Mogul 1.48
Phillip Morris 1.44
Pall Mall 1.38
Melachrino 1.31
Egyptian Dieties 1.28
Benson & Hedges 1.26
Cuban cigarettes 1.05

According to an analysis made by Wright and Moffat and published in "The Journal of the American Medical Association" in 1936..."Havana tobacco has 1.5 percent nicotine, while Virginia tobacco has six percent and Kentucky tobacco eight percent".

Furthermore, according to analyses published by "The Lancet" in London, the smoke of Havana tobacco has only .65 percent nicotine, an almost infinitesimal amount compar-

Page 73
PHOTO CAPTION - Another view of a tobacco plantation.  Here the leaves are uncovered by the "cheese cloth".
PHOTO CAPTION - The Cuban tobacco –the best in the world– is hand-manufactured.  Workers need a great skill.

able to the nicotine content of French tobacco after it has been subjected to a chemical process to remove the nicotine.

"Furfurol", the aldehyde which irritates the bronchial tubes and the larynx, and its effects are worse than those of nicotine.  All tobacco in the world, with the exception of Havana tobacco contain furfurol in a greater or small quantity, the analysis published in "The Lancet" show.

It should also be noted that studies of the ash of Havana tobacco show that qualitatively it does not contain Potassium 40 (K-40), the cancerous substance found in the ash of other tobaccos.

No foreign or extraneous materials of any kind are used in the manufacture of Cuban cigars and cigarettes; used in their production are only Havana to tobacco leaves which are free of furfurol and which also contain less nicotine than tobaccos harvested in other countries.

It can be definitely stated that Cuban cigars and cigarettes are the purest and healthiest in the world.  They do not contain, therefore, any substances which may be considered injurious to the health, and much less which can produce diseases of the gravity of cancer.


The campaign waged in the United States against cigars and cigarettes naturally had its repercussions on the Cuban tobacco market, since he great difference between the various types of tobaccos harvested in different parts of the world is not universally known.

As the scientific experiments carried out in the U.S. were with light leaf cigarettes, it is useful here to furnish the results of these experiments into the nicotine and tar content of 33 of the principal brands of American cigarettes, many of which are sold in Cuba.

Many Cubans who are accustomed to smoking American cigarettes have big yellow stains on their fingers, caused by the burning of the cigarette and the paper.  In addition they are of a more nervous temperament and many of them suffer bronchial difficulties.  The cause of this may be the high nicotine, tar and furfurol content of the American cigarettes.

The following table shows the results of the experiments carried out in the Consumers Union Laboratories in the U.S. and reported in their March 1957 bulletin:


The listing is in order of increasing nicotine content of the smoke.  Small differences in nicotine and tar content are of no significance.

Page 74
PHOTO CAPTION - Winston Churchill, Great Britain ex Prime Minister, smokes big Cuban cigars.  The photo shows Sir Winston as he arrived to Cuba a few years ago.  He had been in Cuba, as a newspaper reporter, during the Cuban-American-Spanish War.  Here he learns to taste the good Cuban cigars.  In his honor, Cuban cigar manufactures named "Churchills" a fine-big shaped special Cuban cigar.



Any attempts to attribute to the Havana tobacco any noxious characteristics might boomerang on the producers of U.S. cigars and cigarettes who do not remember or take into account the results of scientific tests which show the U.S. brands as having a higher nicotine, tar and furfurol content than Cuban brands.

But it is important to point out that Americans, although they are producers and exporters of tobacco on a large scale, have for many years been the principal buyers of Cuban tobacco which they use to improve the quality of their own tobacco products.

The United States buys, without a doubt, the largest quantities of Cuban tobacco leaf exported from the island and uses it in its own tobacco industry.  And it's an old coincidence that after so many years of producing and smoking tobacco the United States should now come to suspect that tobacco is a principal cause of cancer.

It is true, of course, that when U.S. scientists mention cigarettes they are referring to those produced in the United States, and to the more popular brands among even these.  This is shown by the Consumers Union statistics published in the union's bulletin (Volume 22, Number 3 of March 1957) and already produced by this magazine on a preceding page.

End of Page

Copyright 1998-2014 Cuban Information Archives. All Rights Reserved.