Tobacco is grown as an annual crop in Nigeria. Its leaves are usually processed in various ways for smoking, chewing, snuffing and extracting of nicotine. The common forms of tobacco are cigarettes, cigars and pipes. The history of tobacco industry in Nigeria can be traced to about 1904 when it first started as an imported item. Later, a depot was established by the British-American Tobacco (B.A.T.) for the distribution of the products locally. Since 1935 when a pilot Factory was established in a building owned by the British Cotton Growing Association (B.C.G.A.) at Osogbo (now the capital city of Osun State), there has been a steady increase in the cultivation of tobacco in Nigeria. This was borne out of the response to increasing demands. Two years later, the larger Ibadan factory was opened and the Nigerian tobacco Company (N.T.C.) eventually became incorporated as the successor to B.A.T. in 1951 (Di Domenico, 1973).
Nigerian Tobacco Company (NTC) was the only manufacturing company in Nigeria until 1962 when the Kwara Tobacco Company (now the International Tobacco Company – I.T.C.) was established in Ilorin. Moreso, there are, at present, two major tobacco manufacturing companies in Nigeria. The first is the Nigerian Tobacco Company (N.T.C.) with its two factories in Ibadan and Zaria. The Ibadan factory, has, however, folded up since 29th December, 1994 due largely to the poor state of the country’s economy, and lie consequent decline in consumer spending power (Sunday Champion, 1995). The other one is the International Tobacco Company with its factory
heated in Ilorin.
About 96 per cent of the raw tobacco leaves processed at the Nigerian Tobacco factories are grown locally by the independent tobacco farmers. The remaining 4 per cent is the flue-cured tobacco imported from U.S.A. and Canada as a supplement for blending purposes (National Concord, 1991).