Tobacco is a dangerous and addictive substance, and cigarettes are among the most widely-used tobacco products on the market. Tobacco contains something called nicotine, which is responsible for the addiction that tobacco products cause in users. Not to mention, a single cigarette can contain anywhere from 3,000-7,000 chemicals, many of which are toxic or harmful to human health in one way or another.
The bottom line is that tobacco is dangerous. Today, we’ll cover five of the best tobacco alternatives so you can leave the addicting and deadly habit behind once and for all. With nearly 800,000 annual deaths attributed to smoking alone, it’s time to address the serious tobacco problem we have as a society. Let’s start with some viable alternatives.
1. Tobaccoless Chew
A popular alternative that’s sweeping through tobacco circles is something called tobaccoless chew. This smoking and chewing tobacco alternative is just what it sounds like. It contains no tobacco, but it does contain nicotine. In fact, tobaccoless chew from Black Buffalo is so akin to the real thing that even a seasoned user can’t tell the difference!
Your body will notice a difference, however. You won’t be exposed to all of the toxic chemicals and heavy metals found in chewing tobacco and cigarettes, and you’ll spend less money over time. Chewing tobacco is dangerous in itself, despite the general belief that it’s somehow “safer” than smoking.
Tobaccoless products are gaining traction for their likeness to traditional tobacco, and it’s clear that these products could potentially unseat a portion of the tobacco industry, especially with people quitting smoking in record numbers since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
2. Nicotine Gum
If you’re a smoker, you’ve probably heard about or seen someone using nicotine gum. This popular alternative is aimed at helping to ween smokers off of nicotine once and for all, with mixed results. Some smokers have found immediate success with nicotine gum, whereas others report no results despite how much or how often they chew.
Nicotine gum has been around for decades, and, in some cases, is even suggested by doctors for patients who just can’t seem to shake the habit. The problem with nicotine gum is that nicotine is addicting in itself, so even a small amount can still make you crave it. However, for some, using nicotine in small amounts is far more preferable to quitting it all at once. Nicotine withdrawal symptoms can make life incredibly uncomfortable!
Results vary with nicotine gum, of course, like any other cessation method. Some users were able to utilize the gum to quit smoking within just a few months, while others use gum off and on for years and still don’t see any results. This depends on the quality of the gum (there are some generic options) and the user’s commitment to quitting.
3. Vape Pens
Vape pens have been all the rage for the last few years. Some vape companies advertise their products as “safer” or “healthier” than cigarettes, but this simply isn’t true. Vape pens do still contain certain chemicals that could cause lung problems (like popcorn lung). Despite the risks, vape pens are still a viable alternative to cigarettes and tobacco products, given that they contain no tobacco, and, therefore, contain none of the harmful carcinogens found on tobacco leaves.
Tobacco leaves are sprayed with pesticides and fertilizers, which is why they’re laced with so many chemicals. Vape pens use specialized “vape juice” that is vaporized and then inhaled. Vaping isn’t for everyone, but millions of people have made the switch in recent years and the vaping industry is booming.
Vape pens have come under fire in recent years for their potential to cause injury or even certain medical conditions, like “popcorn lung”. As with any inhalant, it’s important to be aware of the risks. While vaping isn’t exactly the same as smoking a cigarette, vape juice still contains nicotine and could potentially contain other chemicals that aren’t necessarily meant to be inhaled.
4. CBD Oils
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard something about CBD oils and other CBD products. CBD stands for Cannabidiol, which is a compound derived from the Cannabis plant. It doesn’t get you “high” like its cousin THC, and there is surprisingly ample scientific evidence to suggest that CBD has many medical applications, including pain management, anxiety management, and more.
Smokers find that using CBD helps reduce cravings for nicotine, and research is being conducted on CBD’s effectiveness at helping to treat addiction. While there is still a lot of research to be done on the subject, we’ve already learned much of CBD’s functionality in humans, and the results are quite promising.
CBD can be purchased in vape pen form as well, so if you enjoy the ritual of inhaling, try this route.
There are certain herbs that are thought to be smokable that can help you replace a cigarette habit, but you must understand that the information surrounding this belief is minimal at best and entirely anecdotal. Anything inhaled into the lungs is bad for the lungs except good, clean oxygen (and other gasses that come with the breathing process).
Even so, some users swear by herbal cigarettes for everything from relaxation to concentration to leaving behind tobacco for good. This is a good route if you enjoy the act of smoking but don’t want the smell, feel, or taste of a cigarette. Herbal cigarettes will also contain far fewer chemicals than cigarettes, in most cases.
The Bottom Line
Tobacco use can cause serious health complications up to and including death. Replacing your tobacco with one of these five alternatives can ultimately save your life and ween you off of your nicotine addiction. You owe it to your family and to yourself to take better care of your body, and tobacco products only serve to destroy it. Take charge of your health and your future by minimizing your dependence on tobacco products and use alternatives whenever possible.