Is Smoking Herbal Cigarettes Safer Than Tobacco?

Is Smoking Herbal Cigarettes Safer Than Tobacco?


We know that smoking is harmful, but would smoking herbal cigarettes be safer compared to nicotine? Here’s what we know

Smoking is bad for you—there’s no question about that. However, for those already addicted to nicotine, quitting is easier said than done. Among the solutions floating around the internet for recovering addicts is to smoke herbal cigarettes instead as an alternative to tobacco. Many people with vaping habits also turn to herbal cigarettes as a way to reduce their health risks. But are herbal cigarettes truly a healthier alternative to smoking tobacco and vaping?

RELATED: Fast Facts on Why and How You Should Quit Vaping 

As the name suggests, herbal cigarettes are made of a mixture of herbs and other plant materials, all of which are rolled up in paper for smoking. According to some, part of its appeal is that these have a more pleasant smell and aftertaste compared to tobacco. Some also consider these a quick fix for boredom and stress or a way to blend in with the crowd.

Experts weigh in

Even so, herbal cigarettes have a harmful effect on the body. While herbal cigarettes may be free of additives and nicotine, there is no such thing as safe smoking. Yes, the natural ingredients of these cigarettes could be safe to consume on their own, such as flowers, but they stop being safe when lit on fire and inhaled as smoke—smoke that studies have found contains toxins like ​​tar and carbon monoxide.

More specifically, according to a 2022 review, the hazardous compounds commonly found in herbal cigarettes include such things as carbon monoxide, polyaromatics, and N-nitrosamines. This review also mentions that smoking certain ingredients like mugwort, coltsfoot, and damiana may result in an increased risk of chronic metabolic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

The final answer

Ultimately, there are no cigarettes that are safe to smoke, and smoking still results in lung injury, so smoking herbal cigarettes is not a fundamentally healthier alternative and may result in the same long-term health risks as regular cigarettes and vaping. Additionally, there are no credible studies that support the narrative that smoking herbal cigarettes are non-addictive and can do things like improve blood circulation and lower inflammation. 

To reduce the health risks of smoking, the only real solution is to quit your smoking habit.

Featured Image: ASHLEY ROUS AKA BESTDRESSED (via Instagram)

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