There is no doubt about it: smoking is terrible business for your health. For the last 40 years western governments have waged aggressive educational campaigns aimed at youth to help them never start. A short trip to Paris and all the hard work of the American government is over. Young people everywhere seem to be smoking non-stop. And the idea of using nicotine and buying nicotine pouches picked up steam in Paris during Covid when one study indicated that nicotine can help treat Covid symptoms. So much that the French Government banned nicotine pouches — for fears that people who were not already smoking were buying them.
A few things about smoking should be said: like every single thing in life moderation is the key. Chain smoking commercial brands with additives is a dangerous blend, like a diet of food high in fat, high in sugar. Smoking tobacco has been demonized by health organizations globally mainly because tobacco companies have hooked people on smoking the way companies have hooked us on Coca Cola and junk food. Much of it is by way of suggestive advertising. Smoke our brand and smoke more and you will be better looking, better off, happier. The truth is that smoking kills millions of people a year. So starting if you don’t know how to moderate might be the best approach.
There might be other approaches to enjoying a cigarette without the toxins or with less toxins?
Last time I was in Canada I met a First Nations chief from one of the Reservations in the north. He said that smoking tobacco can create world peace. Maybe it’s naive. But I listened to him. First Nation people and Aborginal People have many traditions and healing ceremonies around smoking.
The act of sharing fire brings about a feeling of community, and the natural tobacco they smoke can uplift the spirit. Some tribes in Central America smoke plants with hallucinogenic effects –– unlike ayahuasca ceremonies that can heal the spirit. These “smoking” ceremonies are used rarely, certainly not every day. Again the point here is that proportion is key.
At times throughout history Europeans were excited about the medicinal uses of tobacco as much as people are excited today about using CBD extracts from the cannabis plant, so there are trends that come and go even in older times. See this review for a history of tobacco, which the authors of the study point out: its use has contributed to millions and millions of deaths. So use with caution. Maybe even reverence. Modern Peruvians ingest it, for instance, as medicine.
There is a growing trend in America and Canada which started before Covid for people to grow their own tobacco using hydroponics or regular permaculture farming or gardening. This might be an idea that will work well for people who enjoy an occasional cigarette as you can grow the plants in an organic manner, without pesticides and the toxins that get absorbed into the plant. One organization cautions however that organic cigarettes are not less dangerous and are just as addictive as conventionally grown tobacco. We can guess the thing that will save you from smoking too much if you grow your own is that you might find it hard to harvest and keep –– making it less enjoyable.