There has been a significant decrease in the number of smokers in the US over the last decades. About 52 million people smoked during the 80s, yet by the year 2020, the number decreased to under 31 million. That’s because the adverse side effects of smoking tobacco products became evident in multiple studies.
Herbal cigarettes are becoming increasingly popular as people look for a healthier alternative to traditional tobacco products. They are a type of cigarette that uses tobacco-free herbal blends that have been marketed to have various health benefits. Interestingly, they are also being used as a smoking cessation aid to deal with nicotine withdrawal and oral fixation that comes with smoking.
However, these herbal cigarettes may not be as safe as they seem. Herbal cigarettes can pose many side effects as they often contain high levels of carbon monoxide, not to mention carcinogens, which will prove detrimental to your health. Many other methods are proven to be more effective and much safer.
This article will talk about herbal cigarettes, how to make them, and why they are not worth the risk.
What are herbal cigarettes?
Herbal cigarettes are cigarettes that do not contain tobacco and nicotine. Instead, they are made with various herbs, flowers, and other natural ingredients. Popular ingredients for these alternative cigs include rose petals, clove, mint, cinnamon, jasmine, ginseng, lavender, and damiana.
Various other types of cigarettes from Southeast Asia are making their way into the US. These types of cigarettes are a blend of tobacco and herbs that some consider natural and safer. They come in different flavors and have a much cheaper price tag than regular tobacco cigarettes.
Kreteks, also known as clove cigarettes, is one of them. They are a blend of tobacco and cloves, typically carrying a ratio of about 60-70% tobacco and 30-40% cloves. Kreteks also contain clove oil and additives, which gives this cigarette a distinct aroma and flavor.
However, despite being marketed as a natural cigarettes, they are not a healthier alternative. In fact, according to the American Lung Association, kreteks contain double the nicotine, tar, and carbon monoxide of regular cigarettes.
Another one of these new products are the bidis, hand-rolled cigarettes made of dark tobacco wrapped with dried tendu leaf. They are typically imported from India and Southeast Asia. Bidis are gaining popularity among young people as they come in many flavors such as cherry, mango, chocolate, and much more. They are also relatively cheap, as a pack of 20s costs about $2.00.
Still, the enticing flavors and cheap costs of these herbal cigarettes cannot mask the fact that they’re more dangerous than regular cigarettes. In fact, smoking bidis makes the smoker inhale far more tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide, as tendu leaves don’t burn quickly like paper. With that, the smoker tends to pull harder on the drag, which will inevitably bring more toxins into the lungs.
Many of these new products have been promoted like e-cigarettes to help people to quit smoking tobacco. However, although marketed as safer alternatives to traditional tobacco products, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) suggests otherwise, stating that herbal cigarette smokers inhale up to 3 times more tar and nicotine than they would with regular cigarettes.
Herbal cigarettes also come with several potential side effects, including dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. In addition, some of the herbs used in herbal cigarettes can have harmful interactions with certain medications. For these reasons, speaking with a healthcare provider before using herbal cigarettes is crucial. Although herbal cigarettes may have some potential health benefits, they also come with risks that should be considered before use.
Where To Buy Different Herbal Cigarette Brands
Many brands of herbal cigarettes are on the market and can be found in various places. Convenience stores typically sell regular cigarettes and regular tobacco products, but some might sell herbal cigarettes. In addition, these herbal cigs can be found online through sites like Amazon, which ships internationally through the US Postal Service (USPS). It is also worth checking head shops for the availability of these herbal cigarettes, as some may carry them as part of their brand.
However, keep in mind that not all tobacco product stores sell herbal cigarettes, and not all regular cigarette stores carry these products. That’s why we recommend calling or checking for more information online before making a purchase. By doing a bit of research, you can be sure to find the brand of herbal cigarette that is right for you. Plus, you’ll take advantage of the frequent deals and discounts offered by online retailers.
It is also worth mentioning that buying from reputable and credible suppliers is the best way to go about it. This ensures that you get clean and top-quality products free from harmful additives and contaminants, which should be your number one priority when hunting for these cigs.
How To Make Herbal Cigarettes
There are many reasons why people choose to smoke herbs instead of tobacco, including the belief that they are healthier for you and the fact that they have been consumed by mankind for centuries.
Arguably, however, the most attractive feature of these cigarettes is that each of the herbs that compose themhas unique benefits, and smokers can tailor their experience by choosing the ones that best suit their needs. For example, ginseng and cannabis are often used for their mental health benefits, while clove oil is known for easing respiratory problems.
Whatever your reason for smoking herbal cigarettes is, there are a few things you’d do well to know to get the most out of your experience.
- Firstly, make sure to purchase high-quality herbs from a trusted source. Buying from a reliable source eliminates the risk of contaminants and additives that can be dangerous to your health.
- Secondly, grind the herbs finely before smoking them to help release their flavor and compounds. Try using a a pestle and mortar until they turn into powder. A finely ground herb smokes and burns better.
- Thirdly, let the powder dry for a couple of hours, later rolling it in preferably chemical-free paper, such as papers made with hemp, rice, or flax.
- Finally, take your time when smoking and savor the taste and aroma of the herbs. By following these simple tips, you can enjoy all that herbal cigarettes have to offer.
Are herbal cigarettes safe?
Herbal cigarettes are often marketed as a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes, but the truth is that there is very little toxicological research on these products. In some combinations, harmful and potentially carcinogenic additives are included to create a distinct flavor and aroma.
Many brands claim to be nicotine-free, but this is not always the case. Some brands actually contain higher levels of nicotine than regular cigarettes. Moreover, all cigarette smoke contains harmful chemicals, whether from regular cigarettes or herbs.
One of the most detrimental chemicals that herbal cigarettes carry is carbon monoxide, a toxic compound that can cause serious health risks, including heart disease and stroke. In addition, herbal cigarettes often still contain tobacco leaves or stems, which means they can still have the same health risks associated with regular cigarettes, including cancer.
If you want to quit smoking, many other options are more effective than herbal cigarettes. Talk to your doctor about it and discuss different tobacco cessation methods that may work for you. Finally, remember that most herbal cigarettes contain additives that may be just as harmful as tobacco.
In conclusion, there is no such thing as a safe cigarette—herbal or otherwise. So be wary of the adverts that say this and that are safer alternatives.
Do herbal cigarettes get you high?
There is a lot of confusion about herbal cigarettes, with many people wondering if they can get you high. The answer to this question depends on the type of herbal cigarette you are smoking. That’s because some plants, herbs, and flowers contain psychoactive properties, and some don’t.
Some of these cigarettes contain cannabis, which has tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive compound that can produce a high. However, most of the currently available herbal cigarettes on the market do not contain cannabis or other psychoactive substances. Instead, they are made with various herbs and spices designed to mimic the taste and smell of traditional cigarettes. While they may not get you high, many people often use herbal cigarettes to wean themselves off tobacco use slowly.
It is also worth mentioning that some herbs can make you lightheaded, which is often associated with being high.
Can herbal cigarettes cause cancer?
While herbal cigarettes may seem like a healthier alternative to regular tobacco cigarettes, it is crucial to be aware of the potential health risks associated with them.
One of the biggest dangers of herbal cigarettes is that they contain cancer-causing agents. As mentioned before, many brands of herbal cigarettes sell products that contain high levels of carbon monoxide, which is a known carcinogen, proven to increase the risk of lung cancer.In addition, they often contain other cancer-causing chemicals, such as formaldehyde and benzene.
Aside from cancer, smoking these herbal cigarettes can contribute to many other pulmonary diseases. In the case of the more popular ones—called “kreteks”—they raise the risk of pneumonia and bronchitis. Interestingly, kreteks have caused coma and pulmonary edema in some vulnerable individuals in the past.
Another popular alternative to tobacco cigarettes is called Shisha. They are a blend of tobacco and charcoal that originated in the Middle East and Asia. The mixture is usually laced with flavors such as honey, fruits, and mint to have a pleasant taste. The smoke is then inhaled through a hose connected to a water pipe called a Hookah.
However, despite the pleasant taste and its popularity as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes, Shisha is not as safe as they are marketed. They still contain carbon monoxide and other toxic chemicals found in all cigarettes. The popular belief that the water filters out toxins is a hoax. In fact, Hookah smoke contains higher concentrations of carbon monoxide, nicotine, tar, and heavy metals than regular tobacco cigarettes.
Many adverse health effects are linked with Hookah smoking. That includes several types of cancer, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, lung damage, bronchitis, emphysema, and even dental and oral problems. Smoking and sharing Hookah with others also raises the risk of infectious diseases, like hepatitis C, and tuberculosis, , highly plausible because of the mouthpiece that you might share with other people.
While more research is needed to understand the health effects of herbal cigarettes fully, it is clear that they can pose severe risks to your health. If you are considering smoking herbal cigarettes, it is crucial to be aware of the potential dangers and adverse health effects.
Did you know?
Damiana is an ancient aphrodisiac. You can consume damiana in many forms, such as tea bags, capsules, and herbal cigarettes. Damiana is also sold in tinctures that are both alcoholic and not.
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FAQs on Health Hazards of Herbal Cigarettes
Is it legal to buy herbal cigarettes?
Herbal cigarettes are legally sold in the US markets except for kreteks.
Why are menthol cigarettes popular?
Menthol cigarettes are popular because menthol makes the cigarette easier to smoke. The cooling sensation from the menthol lessens the irritability and dryness of the throat when smoking.
What is the recommended ratio between different herbs when making your own herbal cigarettes?
The recommended ratio between herbs when making your own herbal cigarettes are as follows:
- 0.25 to 0.5 grams of dried flowers, herbs, and spices
- 0.5 grams of tobacco or cannabis