How To Store Tobacco Long Term | The Best Way


Tobacco, whether already prerolled or waiting to be rolled, has gotten expensive. Following recent trends, the cost will only go up. Buying plenty of tobacco when it costs less is a great way to save some cash, but you need a good storage option.

The best way to store tobacco long-term is to keep it in a cool place such as the fridge or freezer. While you don’t want your tobacco to get wet or sit in humid conditions, you also don’t want it to get too dry. So you might want to get a humidor to store it.

A really good option is to get a humidity-controlled storage container, like this one. It comes with a built-in hygrometer so you can make sure you maximize the shelf-life of your tobacco.

In this article, I will discuss which storage containers are best for keeping your tobacco fresh and ready for use. You’ll also find out how to best preserve it, how long it’ll last, and ways to stretch it as long as possible. 

What Is the Best Way to Store Tobacco Long-Term?

If you find a sale on tobacco that you can’t pass up, you might be tempted to buy more of it than you can use in the short term. But that doesn’t mean that you need to pass up a great deal.

When you want to store tobacco long-term, you’ll want to find high-quality tobacco that’s free of moisture and ready to preserve. From there, find the best container that gives it the perfect seal, so you can rest assured that nothing is getting in to spoil it.

Does Tobacco Go Bad?

People often don’t think of tobacco as likely to go bad. But like most other herbs, it’s considered a type of food product. You want to keep it at its best.

Tobacco does go bad. If moisture gets inside, it breeds bacteria and will eventually lead to mold. The other is when it sits too long in the open air and dries out. Neither one of these situations are ideal, so you need to store it properly.

You must know the best way to store your tobacco products if you want them to last. Luckily, there’s a wealth of information available to help you do that. 

How Do You Know When Tobacco Has Gone Bad?

Because there are so many ways you can consume tobacco, it can be a little challenging to tell that it has gone bad. A cigar is going to be different from a cigarette or snuff. Luckily, all three are susceptible to the same issues, and once you’ve encountered rot or stale tobacco, you’ll never forget it. 

You will know when your tobacco has gone bad if there is mold and bad smells. Most bacterial growth looks like the type of mold you have encountered before, either green or white, and spread in patches. Moisture is another giveaway, as your tobacco should never be moist or sticky. 

Stale tobacco has a dry consistency that makes it crumble between your fingers or break up in the rolling paper. If you light a cigar or cigarette and notice that it has less flavor, it might be stale. 

You’ll want to consume any tobacco stored at the same time soon. 

How Long Can You Store Tobacco?

You can store tobacco for up to five years. Taking measures to protect your tobacco will extend the length of time it can go before being used. With a good, unbroken seal, tobacco will remain fresh for this long, but some methods may help you store it even longer. 

Remember, an unbroken seal refers to the length of time between when it was manufactured and when you open the pack. If you open the package, then repackage it, it might dry out sooner. 

Different manufacturers of tobacco are aware that there is plenty of competition for your business. To keep customers loyal to their brand, they’ll have frequent specials or hand out coupons. It makes it easier to load up on tobacco and saves you money in the process. 

You want to keep track of how long you’re storing it to use it before it expires.  

How To Store Chewing Tobacco Long-Term

Chewing tobacco doesn’t last long on its own. Within a few days of opening a tin or poach, it’ll start to lose its flavor. A common tactic for tobacco chewers is to store the can in the refrigerator, as it remains fresh for longer. 

Store chewing tobacco long-term using your freezer. Put the can of tobacco in an air-tight freezer bag, then put it in the fridge or freezer, somewhere closer to the middle. Avoiding the front and back of the freezer protects it from defrosting or freezer burn. 

Freezing your chewing tobacco will stretch it out to about a year. 

Just be careful when removing and opening the can. Cold to sudden warmth causes the metal to expand and contract and the lid may be loose as a result. 

If that happens, you wouldn’t be the first person to drop their snuff. 

How Long Should a Pack of Cigarettes Last?

A pack of cigarettes should last for two years in the freezer without sacrificing much of the quality. If they have a longer shelf life printed on the package, it’ll be less likely to dry out. They might not taste fresh but will be consumable. 

If you’ve opened the pack, you can only keep them frozen for up to six months.

Cigarettes last longer than most other forms of tobacco, but the exact length of time is controversial, as some swear they last up to five years when frozen unopened. While that could be true, the flavor and strength of the nicotine will have likely degraded within that time.  The tobacco itself will also be brittle and harder to smoke. 

Do Cigarettes Go Bad If Wet?

Cigarettes should not be wet, but they won’t go bad if they get wet. At the same time, that doesn’t mean the second some dampness gets into a pack, you have to toss them in the trash. Cigarettes can get a bit of moisture and be fine. Even if they end up very wet, you can potentially save them.

Lay them out in a sunny spot in a single line and leave them there for a couple of hours, checking on them every half hour or so. They should dry enough to light. 

You must keep an eye on them when using this method, as cigarettes left in the sun can get too dry, especially if they’re wet before. You’ll know they went too far when you roll them in your fingers and can hear and feel them crinkle. 

Some of the tobacco will fall out of the end as it loses its texture. 

Should I Keep Tobacco in the Fridge?

Some people prefer to keep their tobacco in the fridge, as they claim it extends the length of time the tobacco maintains its flavor and enhances it. Whether the taste itself is better when cold is a matter of preference. 

You should keep tobacco in the fridge, but a refrigerator will not keep it good for long. Sealed, you can put it into another air-tight container and keep it there for around six months. If opened, you can still use the container and get about three months. 

Just remember to make sure there’s no moisture. Otherwise, mold will grow. 

How Do You Store Tobacco In a Mason Jar?

Mason jars have become a popular way to store bulk tobacco, especially pipe tobacco. The trick is to select the right kind of mason jar, as just any won’t be due. Canning jars make the best storage, as they’re air-tight when appropriately closed. 

To store tobacco in a Mason jar, fill it ¾ full with loose, dry tobacco. Put the unsealed jar in the sink and fill it with hot water up to the point where the tobacco cuts off. Leave it there for 10-15 minutes, careful that the water doesn’t become too cold or splash into the opening of the jar. 

  1. Before removing the jars from the water, screw the lids on, making sure they’re as tight as you can get them.
  2. Then, remove the jars to sit on the counter. 
  3. Over the next couple of minutes, your jars are going to cool. The rapid cooling sucks the air from the empty section at the top, creating a seal. 

A couple of tips: 

  • Don’t overstuff the jars, as you want a quarter free to keep it from being compressed for long periods and becoming chunky. 
  • Don’t use boiling water. It should be hot enough that it’s uncomfortable to keep your hand in, but not so hot it would scald you. 

You can use this method to age tobacco for a more robust flavor. 

The benefit of using a mason jar for storage and sealing it with the above method is that it lasts the longest. Most tobacco enthusiasts agree that it should last at least five years, while some claim they have had jars stay safe for up to six

How Long Does Pipe Tobacco Last in a Tin?

Vintage-Smoking-Tobacco-Tin

Pipe tobacco might last up to a few weeks in a tin. If it’s never been opened, it may last up to two years. With a broken seal, it’ll go stale within the first few days to a few weeks. The herb will be unusable within 6 months. Freezing the tin will help slow down the process. 

Any time you’re storing tobacco, you’re trying to protect it from two things: air and moisture. 

Manufacturers use tins for several products. However, paper and wax sealed pouches are becoming more common due to their ease of transport, the cheapness of production, and being more effective in keeping tobacco fresh.

If you want to use a tin, putting it into an air-tight can promote freshness. Just keep in mind that it’s hard to keep a seal tight on a metal tin. Air and even water can slide under the lid.

How Do You Put Moisture Back Into Tobacco?

So, you just opened your tobacco pouch and realized it’s dry. Do you throw it out? Luckily, you can moisten stale tobacco again. But it has to be done carefully, as too much moisture will ruin it. 

To put moisture back in tobacco, get a spray bottle and fill it with room temperature water. Lay the tobacco on a paper towel on a counter. With the setting on mist, spray the water about 6” (15.2 cm) over the tobacco. The mist should drift lightly down to the tobacco and wet it. 

You can also use the tea kettle method, a classic technique. If you choose this option, be careful. A little slip and you might end up with a soggy mess on your hands. Leaving it damp for too long will cause it to rot. 

If you use the right amount, it’ll be combustible, though it probably won’t regain its flavor.

A humidity-controlled storage container, like this one, is relatively inexpensive and are a good option for maintaining the correct moisture in tobacco.

What Humidity Should Pipe Tobacco Be Stored At?

Keeping a humidor and humidity reader for tobacco you plan to keep stored is a great way to keep it at the perfect level. If you’re using a method like a freezer, this isn’t necessary. But if you’re using tin, air-tight bags, or mason jars, it’s highly encouraged. 

Pipe tobacco should be kept at around 55% humidity to be at its best. Cigars need a higher level, and manufacturers will have their suggestions for their brand. The general consensus is an average of 70%. In any case, you should always store tobacco in a cool, dry place. 

The higher the humidity in your environment, the more critical monitoring the humidity becomes.

Best Tobacco Storage Containers

You can store tobacco in many different ways. The seal is what matters, and different people have their preferences. 

Glass canning jars are usually considered the best storage containers. Since it’s so easy to make them air-tight, the length of time they can keep tobacco at its best, the impact on flavor, and how cheap canning jars are to buy. They’re the perfect option for loose tobacco. 

You can get canning jars in different sizes at most grocery and big-box stores, as well as from online retailers. You can also find wide-mouth mason jars on Amazon.

Final Thoughts

Long-term storage of tobacco is easy. You have plenty of options, whether you want to keep it fresh for a few months or several years. Best of all, every choice is affordable and uses tools you already have around the house. 

Whether you’re choosing to store tobacco because you’re an avid smoker who can’t keep costs down as prices skyrocket, or you’re a homesteader that likes to be prepared, this is one of the easiest herbs to keep fresh.

Thanks for reading!

For more, check out How to Store Cocoa Powder Long Term | The Best Way.

Jim James

Hey, I'm Jim and the author of this website. I have always been interested in survival, fishing, camping, and anything in nature. In fact, while growing up I spent more time on the water than on land! I am also a best-selling author and have a degree in History, Anthropology, and Music. I hope you find value in the articles on this website. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or input!

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