Cigarette smoking is still the leading cause of preventable disability, disease, and death in the US. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that 12.5 percent of adults in the country smoke. Moreover, the habit accounts for over 480,000 deaths every year. The numbers highlight how dangerous cigarette smoking can be.
Because of the risks associated with the habit, smokers are turning to natural and organic options, like herbal smokes. To know more about this alternative option, read and discover if natural cigarettes can be safer for you.
What Are Herbal Cigarettes?
Herbal cigarettes are smokes made up of a mixture of natural ingredients, including herbs, flowers, and other plants. Unlike traditional cigarettes, they do not contain tobacco and nicotine.
Some of the natural herbs found in these cigarettes include:
- Corn silk
- Rose petals
- Licorice root
- Lotus leaf
- Red clover flowers
Herbal smokes look exactly like regular cigarettes. As these products are tobacco-free, distributors can sell them legally to buyers of any age. Even minors who are supposed to be not allowed to buy regular tobacco products can purchase them. They are also relatively easy to buy at convenience stores and on the internet.
Herbal cigarettes come in exotic packages and are available in appealing flavors such as cherry, menthol, and vanilla. But their biggest selling point is that they are supposed to be a healthy substitute for regular cigarettes.
How Are Herbal Cigarettes Different from Traditional Cigarettes?
There are many differences between herbal cigarettes and traditional cigarettes. To know these dissimilarities, let us first examine the different types of regular smokes.
Regular cigarettes are also called combustible cigarettes. They have tobacco, chemicals, additives and flavorings, filters, and paper coverings. Smokers expose themselves to more than 7,000 chemicals when inhaling cigarette smoke. Moreover, people around them are also exposed to the same harmful chemicals through secondhand smoke.
Menthol cigarettes are another type of traditional cigarette. They were developed for people who want to smoke but do not enjoy the smell of regular cigarettes. They have become quite popular too. According to a recent article published on the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center website, roughly 18.5 million Americans smoke menthol cigarettes regularly.
Compared to combustible cigarettes, menthol cigarettes can be easier to smoke. The menthol in the product creates a cooling sensation when the smoke is inhaled. This advantage lessens the cough reflex that comes with smoking and covers the dry feeling that smokers experience in their throats.
Furthermore, people who use menthol cigarettes can inhale smoke deeper and hold it in longer. This explains why menthol cigarettes smokers who get lung cancer usually have their cancers located in certain parts of the lung. It can also explain why people who smoke menthol cigarettes find quitting more challenging.
Interestingly, findings suggest that menthol cigarettes are no more, possibly even less, harmful than their nonmenthol counterparts. However, menthol smokes can still be dangerous. Below are three well-known risks associated with vaping or smoking menthol:
- People who use menthol cigarettes smoke more. The mint flavor of the menthol covers up the harsh taste and smell of the tobacco, making smoking significantly more tolerable. As a result, users inhale more smoke and use more cigarettes. The implication is that a menthol smoker is exposed to more toxic chemicals and tar from cigarettes over their lifetime.
- Menthol cigarettes are harder to quit. Those who use menthol cigarettes are more likely to be addicted and dependent than those who smoke regular cigarettes. What’s more, they will also have more trouble stopping the habit, as consolidated by studies.
- Menthols also appeal to younger people. Menthol cigarettes are easier to smoke, meaning even young people will be more inclined to try them. Furthermore, reports show that young people who start smoking menthol are more likely to become dependent and long-term smokers.
Another type of traditional cigarette is cigars. Today, many people consider cigar smoking a more sophisticated and less dangerous habit than smoking regular cigarettes. But, one large cigar may have more than half an ounce of tobacco, which roughly translates to the tobacco content of an entire pack of cigarettes.
Cigars are usually made up of a single type of dried or air-cured tobacco fermented in a complex, multi-step process. The procedure causes bacterial and chemical reactions that transform how tobacco tastes and smells.
Today, tobacco companies create their products in different sizes. The smallest, also known as little or small cigars, are about the same size as regular cigarettes. But, unlike regular smokes, they are longer and brown.
Small cigars can come in flavors like mint, fruit, or chocolate. They have filters and are often sold in packs of 20. Most cigar smokers use small cigars exactly how regular cigarettes are smoked.
Meanwhile, slightly larger cigars contain more tobacco than the small variants and are also often flavored. Also known as blunts, cigarillos, or cheroots, these cigars are available in small packs.
Finally, it can take a smoker one to two hours to smoke a traditional large cigar. Almost everyone who smokes cigarettes inhales, but people who use larger cigars do not. Smoke from large cigars irritates the throat, nose, and the body’s breathing passages.
Cigar manufacturers are now improving their fermenting process to make their products’ smoke easier to inhale. The filters present on smaller cigars also help smokers inhale the tobacco smoke.
Herbal and Natural Cigarettes
Unlike regular cigarettes and traditional cigars, herbal or natural cigarettes have no tobacco.
Cigarettes made of herbs and tobacco have been produced in China since the 1950s. Now, herbal smoking products are made in South Korea, Thailand, and Taiwan.
Manufacturers of these products often promote them as alternative cigarettes with messages implying that the cigarette can help chain smokers quit. Some even promise that they are less harmful than regular cigarettes. Meanwhile, others claim active health benefits, like boosting the body’s immunity and protecting the kidney.
But all of these promises are still unproven. In fact, smoking herbal cigarettes comes with significant health risks.
The Risks of Smoking Herbal and Natural Cigarettes
Before we look at the risks linked to smoking herbal cigarettes, let us first take a quick look at the dangers of smoking. According to the CDC, these are the health risks you must watch out for if you are a chronic smoker.
Smoking can lead to cancer. Consequently, the disease can weaken your immune system, making it even harder to eliminate cancer cells.
The habit of smoking causes most lung cancers, which is still true today. But, the dangerous chemicals from smoking not only attack your lungs but can also cause cancer anywhere in your body, including:
- Colon and rectum
- Trachea and bronchus
- Mouth and throat
- Kidney and renal pelvis
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
COPD is a group of conditions generally caused by smoking. The diseases cause breathing-related problems and airflow blockage. If you have COPD, you will have less air through your airways, which are the tubes that transmit air in and out of your lungs, because:
- The airways and air sacs in your lungs do not stretch and shrink back
- The walls between the air sacs are damaged
- The walls of the airways are thick and swollen
- The airways are clogged with mucus, which blocks airflow
In the early stages of the disease, the patient may feel no symptoms or experience mild symptoms, such as:
- A nagging cough or smoker’s cough
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness in the chest
But as the disease gets worse, new symptoms may arise. Doctors look for the following signs when diagnosing:
- Difficulty in breathing or talking
- Swollen feet and ankles
- Blue or gray fingernails and lips
- Trouble with mental alertness
- Fast heartbeat
- Weight loss
Stroke and Heart Disease
Smoking is one of the major causes of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). The habit causes one of every four CVD deaths. Some of its harmful effects are as follows:
- Destroy cell lining in the blood vessels
- Increase triglycerides, which is a type of fat in the blood
- Lower good cholesterol
- Thicken and narrow blood vessels
- Turn blood sticky and more likely to clot, which can lead to blocked blood flow to the brain and heart
- Raise plaque buildup in blood vessels
With these risks, more and more smokers are looking for safer alternatives. But, nicotine-free and tobacco-free cigarettes, like herbal smokes, may still produce toxic substances, including carcinogens.
In a 2015 study about the safety of mainstream smoke from herbal cigarettes, researchers found harmful substances in the smoke, including tar, carbon monoxide, and benzo[a]pyrene, a cancer-causing agent. Although the researchers found no tobacco-specific substances, they learned that the smoke of herbal cigarettes still had mutagenic potential similar to the smoke of tobacco cigarettes.
Another research studied the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) damage response from the exposure of human lung cells to smoke from herbal cigarettes. The researchers discovered that the exposure led to the development of double-strand DNA breaks that may cause cancer.
They also noted a dose–response relationship between the exposure to the smoke and the severity of DNA damage response. The researchers concluded that smoking herbal cigarettes was just as hazardous as smoking regular cigarettes.
Quitting smoking altogether is the best solution to avoid these health effects. According to the CDC, five years after giving up the habit, your risk of getting cancer of the mouth, esophagus, throat, and bladder drops by half. Ten years after quitting, your chance of dying from lung cancer lowers by half.
“Herbal or “natural” product labels may imply a healthier or safer choice, but that couldn’t be further from the truth when it comes to tobacco products. It’s better to satisfy your cravings with a nicotine-free, tobacco-free CBD cigarette.”
Are Herbal and Natural Cigarettes Safer To Use?
Smoking herbal or natural cigarettes can be as dangerous as smoking tobacco cigarettes. Any burned vegetable or plant substance may still produce tar, carbon monoxide, and other harmful chemicals.
When you inhale the smoke of a rolled-up cigarette, you are taking in harmful toxins directly into your breathing passages and lungs. As a part of the tobacco control efforts, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) require manufacturers of herbal cigarettes to create warning labels for their products. These should indicate that they are harmful to public health.
Most smokers erroneously believe that smoking nicotine- and tobacco-free products is safer than regular cigarettes. Over the years, studies from all over the world have proved this misconception wrong.
An early study of plant-based smokes made in France and sold in Austria proved that the product delivered the same levels of carbon monoxide as those produced by regular cigarettes.
Another study conducted in China tested a claim made by the country’s tobacco industry that herbal cigarettes were safer and less harmful than regular cigarettes.
Under the study, researchers analyzed four discriminating biomarkers from urine samples given by 143 regular smokers and 135 herbal cigarette smokers. According to the subjects, they mainly traded traditional smokes for herbal cigarettes because they were concerned about the side effects of the habit on their health.
After their analysis, the researchers found no crucial differences in the levels of the biomarkers between smokers of herbal cigarettes and regular cigarettes. They concluded that the herbal alternative did not provide fewer carcinogens than traditional smokes.
The researchers advised the Chinese tobacco industry to stop misleading customers by promoting herbal cigarettes as safer alternatives. The subjects of the study who switched from smoking traditional cigarette brands to herbal cigarettes also reported increased consumption after doing so.
This means that turning to natural cigarettes to curb your smoking addiction may not be effective. You will just expose yourself to the same toxins without resolving your smoking problem.
Looking For a Safer Alternative? Check Out Oklahoma Smokes Today!
Smoking is a dangerous habit that comes with a wide range of health risks. If you are looking for a safer alternative, you should know that using herbal smokes may not be the right choice. This option may not help your smoking cessation efforts and can be just as dangerous as smoking traditional cigarettes.
If you want safer options, check out Oklahoma Smokes today! With our help, you can find a product that can help you stop smoking for good. Call 973-314-9105 or email us at email@example.com to know more about our high-quality products.
Looking for the best and most effective ways to quit smoking but can’t overcome the urges? Oklahoma Smokes can help you. It’s a nicotine-free option that allows you to satisfy your craving to smoke.
FAQs on Herbal and Natural Cigarettes
What are healthy alternatives to cigarettes?
Since nicotine alone may not cause cancer or heart disease, you can try nicotine-replacement treatment products (NRT). Use nicotine patches, chewing gum, lozenges, mouth sprays, tablets, and inhalers if you crave a smoke.
Where can I purchase herbal cigarettes?
Natural or herbal cigarettes are widely available in the US since most products do not contain tobacco and nicotine. You can purchase them at brick-and-mortar smoke shops and even buy them online.
What is the safest cigarette to smoke?
There is no safest cigarette to smoke since inhaling cigarette chemicals is always harmful. The best way to reduce harm is to quit the habit and use NRT products to curb your smoking addiction.