Shredding is a novel process for the utilization of tobacco stems. Stem pieces are forced between large, counter-rotating toothed blades where they are stripped lengthwise into thin, fibrous particles. When compared to the process of rolling and cutting, shredding produces particles having superior bulk filling capacity, cigarette filling index and end stability. The thin, fibrous structure of shredded stem modifies the burn characteristics of the cigarette. Pressure drop and burn rate are reduced, nicotine delivery is enhanced, and, most importantly, carbon monoxide delivery is significantly reduced. These changes provide a significant potential for product improvement. The use of shredded stem has no effect on “tar” delivery. Replacing cut rolled stem with shredded stem has no detectable effect on the chemical composition of the tobacco or on the flavour characteristics of the cigarettes.