Are Herbal and 'Natural' Cigarettes Safer?

Cigarettes and smoking mean combustion, and herbal constituents also produce toxic matter. Along with tar and monoxide are the other toxins that smoking leads to. Even breathing in second-hand smoke can be harmful to health. The toxins enter the lungs directly. Herbal cigarettes mean a blend of herbs in the place of tobacco, though tobacco is also cultivated just like herbs. Some common herbs that are used include Passionflower, Corn silk, Rose petals, and Lotus leaf. Further, Licorice root, Jasmine, Ginseng, and Red clover flowers may be used. 

So-called natural bidis and kreteks

Kreteks or clove cigarettes containing clove oil contain maybe 60 percent tobacco. Research indicates that these produce more oar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide when smoked. Handmade bidis that are flavored with fruits and chocolates are getting popular. Though bidis are cheaper and contain lesser tobacco, they generate higher nicotine.

Going natural with herbs and flowers

The phenomenon is not new. People have smoked herbs and flowers for centuries, and reviving the past is a great business now. Starting in China, herbal cigarettes have spread globally. At first glance, it seems a great option to gain a legal high without the tobacco and addictive nicotine dangers. What about the other combustion dangers?

Herbal cigarettes also gained popularity as a method to stop smoking tobacco. The reverse may also be true that smoking herbal cigarettes may lead to tobacco smoking.

Quitting tobacco smoking

Medications, chewing gum as substitutes, or nicotine patches can eliminate the dangerous tobacco habit. Counseling facilities provide sustained emotional support. Social media may help to break free after joining groups with common interests. Though it is not accessible if smoking has been ingrained in the psyche for a long time, make a beginning. Set a date and stop smoking. Research the question and seek medical help. Nicotine may have a firm grip on addictive qualities that lead to withdrawal symptoms. Many have kicked the habit with determination.

Numbers put the problem in the proper perspective. In 1919, it was believed that over a billion tobacco smokers existed globally, and over 7 million died. A great majority of them were men. Most addiction is reached by the age of 25.

Organic, natural, and free from additives

It is a mistaken thought that natural sources ensure less harm. Given the rage for everything organic, it means that the cultivation took place without synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. The term organic does not apply to tobacco cultivation. Why do people think that artificial additives to cigarettes result in harm? Whether the tobacco is organic or otherwise, the toxins released during smoking are arsenic, formaldehyde, and carbon monoxide. Further, tobacco sugars release acetaldehyde which causes respiratory problems and cancer risks and addiction.

Dangers associated with tobacco smoking

Though it is generally known that lung cancer results from tobacco smoking, the truth is more terrible. Long-term tobacco smoking could lead to a variety of health complications. Heart disease and stroke are some possibilities. Cancer, respiratory disease, and type 2 diabetes could result. Health suffers from long-term use, and death could occur earlier compared to non-smokers.

  • Blood clots and thickened blood could lead to a heart attack. Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is another danger with more blood flow to the limbs.

  • In Peripheral arterial disease (PAD), plaque obstructs arteries with a great danger of heart attack.

  • Cancer risks increase with fatal results quite possible.

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) develops over prolonged smoking. Emphysema is one of the forms of COPD.


Respiratory problems are associated with shortness of breath, continuous coughing, severe asthma, and physical weakness. Appearances suffer from dry, dull, wrinkled skin. Teeth and nails become yellow. The teeth suffer from cavities and even loss of teeth. Gum disease, bad breath, and mouth sores may occur. Smell and taste weaken.

Serious nicotine addiction consequences

The adverse effects of long-term nicotine addiction are too many. Cataracts in the eyes and reduced night vision may occur. Vision impairment results from macular degeneration. Hearing loss could result from inner ear damage. Difficulty in getting pregnant has been reported. Complications in pregnancy and labor problems may happen. Erectile dysfunction could result. A weakened immune system could result in frequent sickness and longer recovery. Bone density decreases, and bones break or fracture easily. Injuries take longer to heal.

Plus, points of herbal cigarettes 

The terrible worry about nicotine addiction and harmful effects does not exist with herbal cigarettes. Thus, the question of addiction to nicotine does not arise. Further, certain herbal cigarettes reduce anxiety and bring calmness, as a result of which nicotine withdrawal symptoms are eased. No wonder some people use herbal cigarettes to end tobacco use. Besides, many herbal cigarettes contain mullein that works as an expectorant. Mullein cleans the lungs and expels tar accumulated over a long time through tobacco smoking.

Ending the tobacco smoking habit has another dimension. The physical action of handling cigarettes and inserting them in the mouth, inhaling and expelling smoke, has become a habit hard to break. If it has been done daily for many years, ending it suddenly is difficult. Herbal cigarettes can become a temporary substitute since the same actions are repeated. Herbal cigarettes are a double blessing that copies the physical actions without the addiction to nicotine threat.

Terpenes in herbal cigarettes

Natural compounds called terpenes occur in most plants. Plant aroma occurs because of terpenes. A finer smoking experience results from terpenes. Herbal cigarettes could result in a mild legal high from plants and flowers. Some herbs promote calmness after smoking. In the final analysis, herbal cigarettes remain harmful because combustion in smoking generates carbon monoxide and tar that enter the lungs. Could avoid the adverse effects if ingested the same ingredients without lighting up.

Like everything, herbal cigarettes have good and bad aspects. While tobacco smoking is harmful, millions practice it daily to relax. Habits may die hard, but it is not impossible to quit tobacco as so many have done successfully, some by substituting herbal cigarettes.

Updated on: 23-Feb-2023


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