Review: My reference point is from the southern terminus, so may be different than the other reviews. The trail is the finely-crushed gravel that is nice for running. The trail is well maintained and you get the feeling that you are nowhere near a city, which is nice. I have seen a snake crossing the trail and it does pass marshy waterlands (a good thing!).
Compared to street running, it is pretty nice, though very flat and straight, and as I said, you are "out there." Lots of trees around, except over the trail, so any time other than 11am-1pm should offer some shade options. Compared to trail running, I rate it lower, as it is pretty boring compared to "real" trail running.
I wouldn't write it off, but wouldn't be my main source of trail running.
Review: A lot of asphalt/concrete. This trail is better suited for riding your bike with plenty of trail to run. If you live in the area and need a long run this could be a good route that gets you off the streets and away from the traffic. A lot of access points and there are talks about extending it to another non-paved portion.
Review: The northern section of the Tobacco Trail is all paved and you'll have to dodge cyclists but it sure beats running on the road! Good place to put in the miles but some sections can be hot, flat, and boring. What else do you expect in eastern NC?