The Best Natural Remedies to Quit Smoking

Last Modified on May 28, 2014

Even the worst nicotine addict knows that nothing is worse for your health than cigarette smoke, the trouble is not knowing how to quit smoking. Some natural quit smoking tips can make the process of quitting easier and reduce the withdrawal symptoms that come with quitting cigarette smoking and other nicotine addictions.

The first thing you should know is how much good you can do for your health by quitting smoking. No matter how long you have smoked, you can substantially reduce your risk for lung disease, cancers, stroke, and cardiovascular disease within days of your last cigarette.1,2 You should also know that nicotine is an addictive drug and it's not your fault that you can't quit smoking easily. We all need help to quit smoking, whether that's just emotional support, a quitting buddy who quits at the same time, nicotine patches, or any number of other addiction-management strategies.

Best Ways to Quit Smoking

Earth Clinic can provide you with advice on the best ways to quit smoking and to heal and detox your body after you have kicked the habit. The first step is to pick a day sometime within the next few weeks to entirely stop smoking. Between now and then, you can gradually change your routine to reduce smoking habits and set up a support system to help you quit. Avoid places where you are accustomed to smoking, delay cigarette breaks, smoke only half a cigarette, cut down on your daily packs, chew gum, exercise more, find something else to do with your hands, and check out some of the other ways to quit smoking detailed below!


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User Reviews


03/21/2009: Donna from Toronto, Ontario, Canada: "I just watched this on TV a couple of days ago. Botox at the corners of the mouth. There was this lady doctor who "discovered" that her patients who got the botox treatment reduced significantly or quit all together smoking. Obviosly, this is a side effect of the treatment. As far as I understand, for about 3 months after botox, your mouth is semi-paralyzed. The idea was that people weren't able to whistle, to suck through a straw or to smoke.
She was careful to say that the procedure isn't FDA approved as a quit smoking remedy.

When I think about it, it makes a lot of sense though."

Detox After Smoking

02/01/2013: Skaye from Eatonton, Ga: "Does anyone have any advice on how to clean up the lungs after quitting smoking and clearing the nicotine from the blood? Any advice would be much appreciated."

02/01/2013: Gavin from Manganui, Northland, New Zealand replies: "Cayenne pepper with garlic cleans up the lungs even if you smoke. To avoid garlic breath chew some parsley after, youve had the garlic."
02/02/2013: Skaye from Eatonton, Ga replies: "thank you Gavin... How do you mix the two and does is matter if it is "fresh" garlic and cayenne or can you use the bottles from the spice rack?"
02/02/2013: Gavin from Manganui, Northland, New Zealand replies: "The garlic is best if you can get organic, but I used mostly the chinese from the supermarket and the cayenne from the spice isle, three cloves crushed and left for ten minutes, and the cayenne mixed with butter on bread every day! , then make a sandwich of what you fancy... Youll find if the cayenne is mixed with butter it takes the sting out of it, mix it like a paste. It goes down well with egg yolk in a fried egg.... Otherwise its too hot. You will get your wind back fairly quickly with the cayenne, but over a few weeks the garlic will float the muck off the lungs. About a quarter of a teaspoon of cayenne everyday. Or if you are really breathless take more it works very fast in dilating the small blood vessels and getting the oxygen around. It enhances the effect of garlic in cleaning out the lungs."

Dried Ginseng

04/01/2010: Alfred from Bangkok, Thailand: "I have never smoked.. but over the years smoking bothered me.. I did a lot of looking.. how to stop smoking.. I came across the following.. Its not difficult to do and not expensive.. I think worth a try.. Dried Ginseng..take small piece, chew.. swallow the juice, and swallow the Ginseng piece when it gets too small to chew... The article said.. NO withdrawal pain.. My opinion.. Ginseng is healthy.. can not hurt.. But maybe will work..Good luck..


Eat Apples and Oranges

Approval Ratings
YEA (1)

[YEA]  05/29/2011: Jc (siafulinux) from Savannah, Georgia, Usa: "Hi guys. About six and a half years ago I quit smoking in a very short period of time. Prior to this I had been trying off and on to do the same with the regular methods, but it never did work for me.

What happened was while working my overnight job I was looking to increase energy by eating apples and oranges during my very strict two fifteen minute breaks. I also had to try and smoke a cigarette of course. I ate the fruit first and then tried to smoke; disgusting! I couldn't handle the taste and could only get through a very little bit of that cigarette.

The taste stuck with me and I found myself smoking less and less over the next couple of days and then, no more.

I don't know if there was anything else going on there, but that's all I remember doing at the time. So I don't know if this would actually work for anyone else, but I thought it was worth mentioning. I am curious to see if anyone else gives this a try though.

Take care and good luck with the quitting!"

Ellis' Quit Smoking Technique

Approval Ratings
YEA (1)

[YEA]  09/02/2009: Ellis Garvin from Haiku, Hi: "Ted makes some really good points here. As someone who smoked a pack a day for 9 years, and who quit many times before quitting for good, 10 years ago, I have a lot of first-hand experience with quitting smoking. In my experience, the first three days are the hardest. That is when I would feel like I was alternately going insane and/or becoming enlightened. There is a kind of buzzing in the head coupled with increasing energy which can easily turn to anxiety and agitation. The pull to smoke doesn't end after 3 days though. My experience was that the longing to reach for a cigarette when feeling stressed out, or at the end of the work-day, or with a drink, etc, SLOWLY melted away over the course of a year until the urges were pretty rare. Even these rare urges slowly became even less frequent as the years went by. It was like breaking up with someone. It takes time. Even 10 years later I still occassionally get a sudden craving for a cigarette. Maybe 3 times a year and it's not very strong.

Along with Ted's recomendations for the body, I have a recomendation for the mind (and the mind is definetely involved with this.) This is a technique which worked really well for me. It is ingenious and very effective if you have a sincere desire to quit. It was given to me by a friend who had also used it to quit smoking after 40 something years.

The technique:

1. Determine how many ciggarettes you smoke per day. [for me it was 20]
2. Determine how long you want to take to quit smoking. It could be a week, a month, or any number you want. It's your choice. [I chose 20 days]
3. You are going to reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke by 1 every -blank- number of days. Choose what that -blank- number of days is. [I chose to reduce the number of cigarettes I smoked by one, every -1- days. For example: the first day I smoked 20, the next day I smoked 19, on the third day I smoke 18, etc. You could choose to reduce the cigarettes by one every day, every 2 days, every week, or whatever you want. It's totally your choice.]
4. Buy a small pad of paper that is comfortable to carry with you wherever you go that you smoke.
5. Every single time you are about to smoke one of your cigarettes, first take a moment to write down in your pad of paper whatever you are feeling and doing at that exact moment. [What your feeling could be anything such as, "I'm feeling excited, happy, sad, stressed, angry, bored, hungry, frustrated, etc." It could even be, "I'm feeling nothing." What you're doing could be anything, such as I'm at work, just had an argument, watching tv, stuck in traffic, at a party, having coffee, just finished dinner, etc.]
6. Lastly, you buy the same amount of cigarettes that you used to buy before you started this technique, and you destroy the extra cigarettes that you are not smoking and throw them in the trash. [Because I smoked a pack a day when I started this process, I had to buy a brand new pack every day, even though I was gradually reducing the number I would smoke out of that pack by one every day. For instance, on day 15, near the end of the process, I had to buy a new pack, I smoked 5 of them, and then I crumbled up the remaining 15 and threw them away. On day 16 I bought a new pack, smoked 4 of them, crumbled up the remaining 16 and threw them away, etc. This practice is to drive it home to you how much money you spend on cigarettes.]

If you follow this program like I did, you will be completely ready to quit by the last day. For me, I was dying to quit by the last week. In fact, I couldn't even wait, and I stopped a few days before the end with no problems. I have been off them ever since. Remember, once you're off them, don't ever, EVER take even a single puff off of someone elses cigarette for the rest of you life. If you take even one puff, you will eventually start smoking again and will go back to ruining your own good health. Good luck! You can do it!"

01/25/2010: Laura from Ventnor, Nj replies: "This sounds like a fantastic way to quit.. you really see where your money is going, and honestly, that would make me pretty crazy to just throw away $7. Great idea!"

Financial Cost of Smoking

03/21/2014: Jonathan from Colorado: "Hello, I noticed the topic of quitting smoking on Earth clinic.Thought your readers would find an article about the financial costs of smoking interesting:"

Ginger Root

Approval Ratings
YEA (1)

[YEA]  08/26/2013: Scott from Pen Argyl, Pa: "Nothing worked for me until I ran across something by accident. I'd found that ginger helped cure my dog's lymphatic leukemia and works on many other cancers as well. My family has an extensive history of cancer to I started taking it myself as a preventative measure. Since then I've noticed many other benefits from it and researching it on the net confirmed it was the ginger responsible for several of those benefits.

Among those benefits was a massive decrease in the urge to smoke. It turns out that ginger contains niacin which flushes nicotine out of the body. Nicotine is the addictive ingredient in tobacco. Obtaining the niacin with fresh ginger seems to be more effective than supplments but that's just my own opinion.

The only problem is that ginger is also a stimulant and will keep you up nights so don't take it if you're planning on going to sleep in 4 hours or so."

08/28/2013: Cindy from Los Angeles replies: "Hi Scott, glad you healed your dog and yourself. My dad has “terminal cancer”. When I first saw him, he was already on his way out.. To the other side. His skin was grey, he had not eaten in over a week, he was not as coherent, he was barely able to walk and he was in a lot of pain.

I loaded him up with FlorEssence (Liquid), Plant-based protein powder, Organic Greens Powder, Organic Liquid Vitamins, the best Pro-Biotic capsules, Organic Aloe Vera Juice, L-Glutamine, Immune Something to boost his White Blood Count and T-Cells, Turmeric Tincture. And in four days, he was eating one meal a day, his skin had color again, he was walking faster, and he was much more coherent. However, his pain is increasing daily. And he is still smoking and drinking (beer) during that time and was still improving.

He saw a doctor yesterday and he has a tumor between his spine and his left shoulder blade. He has another appointment to do more tests. I believe they talked to him about possible radiation or chemo (I have to get the complete story from my brother who is caring for him) to his area that is ailing him.

I believe I can cure him but not sure if he does not stop smoking and drinking. He says he hasn’t stopped because the doctors have not told him to stop. However, he does want to stop.

Please share your method of taking ginger root, are you chewing on it to help you stop smoking or making tea? Thank you."

09/05/2013: Teresa from Tn replies: "Scott, I would also like to know if you are chewing the ginger or making the tea. I am trying to quit smoking, but am having no luck."
09/06/2013: Tom from Fort Worth Texas replies: "Teresa:

Concerning the nicotine addiction, there was a guy in Texas that ran a home for Girls and many came with various addictions. He'd put them through a three day watermelon cleanse... Like eat a watermelon a day and the liquid would get to the cellular level and virtually all the girls broke their addictions doing this cleanse. (He was Lester Rolof.)"


Approval Ratings
YEA (1)

[YEA]  12/30/2013: Rosie Q. from Santa Cruz Ca: "I am not sure if this is the right forum for this since this is a health site but this is what worked for me, I had multiple addictions and used to smoke two packs a day-

I had success with hypnotherapy, it gets to the root cause of why we smoke. then- keeping track of the money saved. (14$ a day, 98$ a week) and taking some of that and treating myself to something nice ( a pedicure, movie ) at the end of the week if I didn't smoke. the amount of money saved each week was extremely motivating!

Good luck to all! Quitting smoking is so hard and you all deserve good health!"


Approval Ratings
YEA (2)

[YEA]  12/20/2013: Candy from Ontario,canada: "Thank you Jesus for Lobelia.This wonderful herb can help you quit smoking . I take 3-10 drops 3 times daily or when I feel the urge to smoke or before I eat a meal. Its works quickly. There is a slight burning in the back of the throat but soon after the urge to smoke is gone and if you do smoke it tastes horrible.This remedy works because lobelia contains the active ingredient lobeline, which is almost identical to nicotine and has similar effects on the nervous system. A bottle costs around $15.00 in most Canadian health food stores. Try it you might like it."

[YEA]  08/23/2011: Jennifer from Podunk, Missouri, Us: "First of all I didnt think Lobelia was going to actually work there was too many "to good to be true" reviews on it. But at $5 a bottle and 100 pills in that bottle I couldnt pass up at least giving it a go. When I first started to take it I was surprised to find that it does reduce cravings and makes your cigarettes taste a bit funky. Honestly its wasn't so much of a funky taste to me that I would of put out and wasted a cigarette. OH and it did help me breathe better. I started smoking at 18 and after 10 years of it I cant remember the last time I could take such a deep breath. Anywho I had a cigarette filter from a previous quit smoking attempt-the last step in the filters I never got to. BTW this filter supposedly it cuts out 90% of the nicotine. So I started using it along with taking the lobelia and my cravings reduce even more. Now let us not forget the obvious that commitment and willpower is also involved. I promised myself that A) I wouldn't buy anymore packs during this period and B) THE last cigarette would be my last.

ALL IN ALL: I started taking the lobelia on Aug 4th probably started using the filter two or three days later and on Aug 9th I had my last cigarette. I went from smoking about a pack that first day (smoked over a pack a day before this) to only having 5 smokes the last day. Today is Aug 23rd and its my second week of being free of my angry hungry big little nicotine monster. I have my moments of "I need an effing smoke" especially after eating or just sitting there being bored. Its a mental want and not a physical want I just take a few deep breaths (now that I can) and it passes by quickly.

and I know its really early to get too excited about but... Im very happy to be smoke free and dont ever again want to give in to the monster."

Multiple Remedies

Approval Ratings
YEA (2)

[YEA]  07/03/2012: Dixiedebva from Roanoke, Va, USA: "I want to share this cheap & quick step-down method that made it VERY easy to get cigarettes & nicotine out of my life.. YEA!! (I see similar points noted but not combined as here to work)

1) Natural Tobacco= First I started rolling my own cigs 3-4 months before my desired "quit" time. STOP USING store bought cigs ASAP! Jan 2012 the papers, filters & tobacco averaged $1. 50 a pack. Use "smooth" or "ribbon" cut pipe tobacco (not cigarette tobacco) and select a "mild" mix. Now you are rid of the 2, 000 additives cigs have AND only dealing with the "natural" leaf nicotine! Also my dislike of the "rolling" hassle made me "think" with each cig.. Do I really need it? or just smoke half?

2) Vinegar= then BEST OF ALL, I stumbled onto the "hidden" patent info about adding a drop or 2 of plain white vinegar to the cigarette filter neutralizes the nicotine. You cant smell or taste the vinegar once dry. I did this to every cig for the last 4-6 weeks before I quit. Couple weeks with 1 drop.. Then next couple with 2. (this seems to be the other poster's nicotine blocker).

3) Diet changes= I got serious about taking a good all around vitamin plus a super B complex.. Also doubled my water & fresh fruit intake. I ate more healthy foods and stopped skipping meals (nic kills your appetite & taste). I can tell the super B's really do help with nic cravings. Yeah Ted!

4) Mental Facts= With every thought of "I want a cig", I remind myself that I REALLY DON'T.. Its just the top used insecticide poison thats talking. Being already SUPER addictive and unbelieveably chemically multiplied & enhanced in cigs to addict me even further, its no wonder that it screams at me. Nicotine only provides me illness and death. Am I that easy a target? No, I truly DON"T WANT a cig.. I WANT the NICOTINE.. Or DO I??

5) E-cig backup= I bought an e-cig with both "light nicotine" & "zero nicotine/water" cartridges. I used the "light nic" when I was cutting down and ran out of self rolled cigs. After my quitting, there have been just a couple times I wanted to "smoke" (when smoking friend visits) so I just puffed my water vapor ecig and laughed at myself.

6) A New Dance= I felt ready and just stopped smoking one day after all the above.. But I needed one last step. I've had almost zero "physical" craves, but mental triggers were in everything I do daily. To deal with triggers, as soon as I think cig, I quickly step away from that situation.. Then I return, performing it differently and repeat to make a new habit of that situation without a cig. I am quickly remembering doing it the new way & forgetting the old. (like holding phone in other hand).

I have only been quit a month but already cigs seem like a faint memory.. I go all day without thinking of one unless I cross an old trigger I havent "un-done".. And even then its not a fever wish, but just a thought that its "time" for a cig.. Well, I know its not and so I dance a new step into that situation and now enjoy "breathing" past it.. Combining all these helps made the cravings sooo weak that I easily walked away. I hope you do too! ;)"

[YEA]  12/18/2009: Robert from Martinez, Ca, USA: "Crush a vitamin C tablet & mix with enuf water to place in small spray bottle. Whenever the urge arises, spray inside the mouth toward back of throat. A homeopathic liquid compound for 'smoking withdrawal' may be purchased from health store & used per label instructions.The major ingredient is lobelia which has lobeline & is similar to nicotine but non-addictive, other ingredients are sedatives & anxiety aids. When feeling the urge to smoke, become very focused on the breath & usually it is habitually shallow., so take deep breaths thru the nose & exhale thru the mouth.Oral fixation can be quelled by sucking on licorice root, (not the candy). the niacinimide will help. I would 'nibble' on it in small amounts. If feeling very anxious, try GABA which can be purchased w/niacinamide. Break open the capsule & sprinkle a little on the tongue during the work day stress.Info on GABA can be searched on the net.Drink tea vs coffee, exercise the new energy you feel with long walks or take up bicycling. Exercising the lungs is important.Learn to play a wind instrument:harmonica, native flute are very simple.Pink grapefruit is good to clear tars from the lungs,so maybe one per day in the a.m. Coconut fat with honey helps due to the sugar cure used on tobacco giving a sweet tooth.Raw fruits with raw fat,(avocado,coconut butter,raw butter) is great.As difficult is loving oneself, please stop stuffing the emotions. If you can find a quiet place when feeling anxious,lay down & use the breath to really explore the emotional state(s)that you are allowing to release. Breathe these out & allow them to go like a balloon floating away or whatever metaphor helps.When focusing eyes open & looking straight ahead also be aware of periphery on both left & right sides.....this is a bit trickey but have fun with the practice. I come from a chain smoking mother who quit in her 50's,h ad 10 children half of whom smoked. Please allow the divine to intercede & do the work. Love & breathe."

M's Quit Smoking Technique

Approval Ratings
YEA (1)

[YEA]  05/03/2010: M from St.L., Mo, Usa: "When I quit smoking, several things helped me. A friend said "Don't worry about it, the smoking will quit you when it's ready."

So I quit "trying" to make myself quit. Then I noticed that I was saving up reasons to quit, like collecting shells or rocks. There were too many to keep track of mentally, so I began to write them down. I had NO plans to use them as leverage. I just wanted to see how many I could find. When I had found 144 reasons to quit, something must have clicked for me. One morning I looked in the mirror and said aloud, "I'm not going to smoke anymore." It was an all- of -me- decision. I wasn't dragging the reluctant side of myself into it.

Each time I thought of smoking over the next couple of weeks, I told myself I could smoke if I wanted to, but the days, hours and minutes I had amassed as a non-smoker were mounting up and would be a shame to waste, since I had wanted to quit for a long time.

This reasoning process helped me through the temptation times, along with a deep breathing pattern that just "came to me". When I took THREE DEEP BREATHS, holding one after the other as long as I could stand the pain in my lungs before gasping for air, it took the urge to smoke away, (because I felt sick and dizzy, probably.)

After a few short weeks I didn't want to smoke anymore. That was such a long time ago, it seems like I never smoked."

05/08/2010: Merryanne from Orange City, Fl replies: "I am very proud of you for quit smoking,,,Good Job. I quit also about a year and half back,,,It is great not stink any more, my clothes don't smell and I like myself more also,,, Merryanne"

Neem Tree Oil

Approval Ratings
YEA (1)

[YEA]  06/15/2009: Linda from Orange City, Fl: "I have been using Neem Tree leaf, bark, and oil for about 3 months. The oil of the seeds is not for human consumption, but used externally or mixed as pesticide. But I wanted to report my use of the leaves and bark. I order my supplies from ____, their price is very cheap compared to the health food store, and other sites on line. I get the loose leafs, and ground bark by the pound and make my on capsules of the size 00 (I buy them from the health food store) and took 2, two times a day, and also made my bark capsules and did the same 2, two times a day, and drink a lot of water. (Do the tea after you do the three weeks of capsules) Do tea for only one week. Well they gave me a great cleansing out. To make the tea I took four teaspoons of leaf and put into a quart jar of slightly warm water (do not use hot) and let sit for 24 hours, then keep in the frig, to drink shake and drink one cup, leaves and all at least 2 times a day. Now this is VERY hard to do,,,this is VERY bad taste, add what ever you want to get it down, I could not add to many things because I am Diabetic. But I took two cups of the TEA twice a day for one week. Then, at this time of the tea drinking, *I stopped smoking after 12 years of at least one pack a day. I had know with drawls, nerves,,now I had been praying about it for a few months, and I had made a decision to stop. I did think about a smoke,,but it was not something that I could not handle. So I know that the cleansing from the Neem gave me a great help. The neem has a lot of information on line, there are a lot of neem products at health food stores, there are a lot of companies selling online, but I have to watch my spending so I make my on capsules, I use the oil either straight on my body where ever needed and I add a few drops to shampoo or lotion, but only if it is really needed because the oil has a very, very strong smell. There are sites that sell the capsules made, they are smaller than mine, so you would have to take 3, but for the price of one jar of leaf caps you can buy one pound at _____, in the health food store I saw a bottle of neem oil one ounce for $15, I can get 8 ounces at that price at the other place."

Nicotine Blocker

Approval Ratings

07/06/2011: Kathie from Houston, Tx, Usa: "I have tried to quit smoking for some time now. I had "been quit" for over ten years but getting divorced brought me back to this terrible habit. I have tried reducing but once I got down to 10 a day, my will power was not enough, with patches and gum, I found myself smoking with these things. I found a nicotine blocker on the internet and ordered it. It is a liquid that you put on the tip of the cigarette filter. One drop blocks 33% of nicotine and tar (one drop for the first week), two drops blocks 66% (two drops for the second week) and 3 drops blocks 99% (the third week and longer if needed). While using the nicotine blocker, you also are supposed to gradually reduce the number of cigarettes smoked each day. This sounds like a great idea, because I know that my addiction is not just to the nicotine but also the physical act of smoking. As I add drops of this nicotine blocker, my body will get less of a "reward" for that cigarette and my cravings will slowly go away. I started this program today and I will keep you posted as to my results.

During this time, I will increase my B vitamins (as Ted recommends), maybe take some valerian root (to help calm), and take hot baths daily to help sweat out the toxins.

Also it is my understanding that cigarettes have heavy metal toxins in them, so when I am "quit", I will do a cleanse that will help remove heavy metals. This will include chlorophyll and cilantro as well as plenty of protein so the metals will have something to "grab hold" of and be safely removed from the body."

[SIDE EFFECTS]  07/19/2011: Katherine from Houston, Tx/usa replies: "Just wanted to let you know that the nicotine blocker did not work so well. I guess that I suck too hard on cigeretts... It felt like the nicotine blocker was getting into my lungs and causing my lungs to hurt. So I quit the nicotine blocker, but not the dang cigaretts. I am thinking that I just need to be locked up for a week to break this dang habit!!!"
07/19/2011: Gavin from Manganui, Northland, New Zealand replies: "In a perfect world we wouldn't smoke we wouldn't eat bad food. We wouldn't be stressed out trying to make a living. But it aint a "Perfect world".. Moderate smoking ie five a day and a natural tobacco at that. Might not be politcaly correct.. But as an appetite suppresant it takes the edge off of constant need to feed. It supplies b3. Has a calming effect and a dopamine release. When you weigh up the overall effect Obesity will have on the general population, compared to the health of a moderate smoker. I have the suspicion we might have the reason why people have been smoking for four hundred years. It might be very wise to look at banning tailor made cigaretts, as the list of unatural additves is shocking! As long as this is done with regard to the food industry as well. But a a few cool stogies a day wont kill anyone."
07/19/2011: Maria from Gippsland, Australia replies: "Do some research regarding B-3 & Vit C to help with quitting smoking, also check the EC page.

There is a heap of difference with natural (including dried naturally & not forced dried) tobacco. I remember reading many years ago that lung cancer was not a problem with smoking naturally grown & dried tobacco, mind you the amount smoked was small not large amounts. Now days this is not a legal option here in Oz, but cigarettes with all their chemicals are."

07/20/2011: Gavin from Manganui, Northland, New Zealand replies: "Now the anti smoking industry has gone political. Its totaly ignoring a few things. Ie the bigest cause of death in non smokers is bowel cancer. Smoking increases peristalsis, I suppose that means poor food dosn't linger in the gut as long as it does in non smokers, so constipation dosn't occur.. Which is a major cause of this type of cancer. A few years ago doctors would recomend smoking to stop Asthma, and to delay Altzhimers. In the thirties they also touted it for stress relief. Yes the LPG dryers in the leaf drying kilns leave cancerous hydro carbons on the leaf. In a few years it will be interesting to see if lives are actually saved in the demonising of smoking. I doubt it."
07/20/2011: Francisca from Michelbach-le-bas, Alsace, France replies: "Sorry Gavin but I can't agree with your advice at all! True, obesity is a big problem and one easy to solve for most people who don't have a specific illness that makes them obese. The answer is tackle it in the beginning, far easier than to let yourself get overly fat and only then try to get rid of your weight. I think that people should stay away from cigaretts because sonner or later they all try to quit and then they have a problem! Ok, the world is far from perfect but should that mean that we go around doing everything that is not good for us? If you don't start you don't miss it, believe me because I don't!

I didn't know that naturally dried tobacco was less harmful than the cigarettes sold in the stores and criminal, if that is the case, that it is forbidden by law at least in Australia. But then till a while ago it was perfectly legal to spray your crops with all kinds of harmful chemical here in France while nettle juice, which is harmless was forbidden. You weren't even allowed to give the recipe to anybody, that was punishable by law. Now they have changed the law to allow it for home use but it is still forbidden in farms. And if you see that we have nettles for free all over the place? But that is exactly the problem.... For free... Makes no money! Anyway, don't forget second hand smoking! I have no idea whether with more natural tobacco this is less of a problem but making others inhale your old smoke is not a nice thing to do, unless you always smoke only around other smokers!"

07/20/2011: Gavin from Manganui, Northland, New Zealand replies: "Im totaly comfortable with your spin on things.. I just think the smoking thing needs a bit of logic and reason applied to it. The big tobacco companies have turned a fairly harmless and benign pleasure into a major health problem. The actual tobacco leaf smoked by the red indians (Nicotinus virginius) required two puffs and you were into opium dreamland. This is grown now just for the nicotine which is sprayed onto the mush which is then rolled into commercial cigaretts, all the other crap about 150 harmful chemicals are added for shelf life, flavouring etc..... Its turned into mush because thats the only way the machines can roll them, at this stage. Theirs is also the fact that in certain countries where smoking is heavy, and the diet is far different from the western one. The health risk is just not showing up.. Ie (The asian paradox) and the mediterranean diet. Arguably the greatest minds of the twentieth century were either puffing on a pipe or a cigar and lived a ripe old age. I personaly think that we might be at some sort of watershed, where the ideas generated from those smoke filled rooms might just not happen anymore. The monoxide forces the brain to solve problems and work harder, but thats just a personal opinion. Time will tell."
11/04/2012: Sarah from London, Uk replies: "Gavin, I don't know where you're getting your information from, but its contrary to my knowledge and experience. I come from what was only recently the largest tobacco producer in the world (Zimbabwe), which still has the biggest tobacco auction floors globally. My country has (had) a long history of tobacco farming and cigarrette manufacture... And I am familiar with it all. There is no 'spraying' of some high grade nicotine onto 'mush' as you maintain... Certainly not from what I've witnessed. There is, however, a grading of the leaf - from high to low - similar with tea farming.

Also, your statement that "... The big tobacco companies have turned a fairly harmless and benign pleasure into a major health problem" makes no logical sense. Why would commercial companies trash their product?? Its illogical. And what about the expose nearly 20yrs ago now of tobacco companies actually hiding facts about the harm nicotine and smoking has on health?

It is well understood and accepted that nearly 70% of ALL lung cancers are caused directly by smoking - or in a few cases, from exposure to other harmful substances such as asbestos. The figure for oral cancers (mouth, neck and head included) are as high for smokers. This is medical fact, which any oncologist can verify.

Also, the biggest killer today - in developed countries - is coronary heart disease (CHD). Diabetes is also a massive problem, costing health services billions to manage every year, and contributing to CHD deaths. Smoking is a major factor in CHD - and it is not a causal link.

It is true that bowel cancers are on the increase - but NOT necessarily in non-smokers. It is also the easiest cancer to treat if it is caught early enough. Bowel screening programmes are doing much to highlight new cases and may well be distorting the figures.

Conversely, in developing countries, the biggest killers remain communicable diseases. However, as diets become more like the western world (with high fat and sugar) combined with increased smoking - there is an effective tsunami of health concerns on the horizon - especially as developing countries don't have the health infrastructure of the west.

The damaging effects of smoking are - frankly - undeniable. Your claim that 'big tobacco companies' are making up this 'spin' is baffling."

11/04/2012: Sarah from London, Uk replies: "I would just like to add... People today are living considerably longer with each decade - never mind with each generation. This is due to a variety of reasons. First, the discovery of penicillin and the advent of antibiotics is not to be underestimated. For people to die from sepsis today (in the developed world) is rare in comparison to before the advent of antibiotics. A very common infection, especially in children and the elderly, is urinary tract infection (UTI). Left untreated, UTI's can track back along the renal system and infect the kidneys. This is an infection of a vital organ - which, without antibiotics, is potentially fatal. Antibiotics have a bad rep because of their overuse in the 70's and 80's... but their impact on mortalities is massive, and ongoing.

Secondly, vaccines and innoculations have had an equally massive impact on mortality - with small pox virtually eliminated. There was even recently discussions of destroying the last small pox viruse reserves kept for making vaccines.

Thirdly, nutrition -more in the developed world. Good nutrition even impacts on following generations. There was a facinating study done on Dutch women who were children during WWII, and the effects of their malnutrition on their off-spring, and even on the children of their children.

Fourthly, and again more in the developed countries, is better living conditions - clean water, sanitation etc. Have you ever heard of a cholera outbreak in a western town or city? No. In Africa (for example) it can be rife. 4yrs ago Zimbabwe had mass graves because of cholera... The political situation has so degraded the infrastructure there is no clean running water. With the rains comes flooding of sewage into water ways, and boom! Cholera. The very young and the elderly dying the most.

Finally, medical intervention is undoubtably impacting on mortality. This hardly needs further explanation.

So, people of yester-year living to a "ripe old age" while "puffing on a pipe or cigar" is not exactly correct. Their ripe old age was in all likelihood their 60's or early 70's (unlike today, where people with access to modern living standards, good nutrition and healthcare systems are living comfortably into their late 80's, 90's and even 100yrs and beyond) And wouldn't it be interesting to know exactly what it was people puffing away on their pipes and cigars actually died from? Infection? Small pox? Lung cancer?... certainly not old age."

12/01/2013: Mesem from France replies: "This is for Sarah who didn't see to understand Gavin's comment back then! Its important to read carefully what people write and not skim read! Tobacco is just a plant that is not the greatest thing to abuse but add a bunch of chemicals to it and its self administered poison. Cannabis is natural and smoking it is not a huge deal unless you can't control your consumption. Add to list; alcohol, sugar, read meat, salt..."
12/01/2013: Gavin from Northland, New Zealand replies: "Yes thanks, I was thinking of moderation in all things, immoderate use of all things lead to problems. Most of the things that make a person feel good if overdone are bad for the body. But on the other hand if you go through life without the occasional pleasure we might as well not bother."
12/01/2013: Gavin from Northland, New Zealand replies: " With regard to the big tobacco I was referring to the production of taylor made cigys. The leaf is processed into a mush and then dried out like cardboard, it has to be done this way for the cuters, the rolling machines cant make them, any other way. Rice is also used as filler, (burnt rice is a carcinogen) the amount of nicotine in the commercial leaf isn't very high, so they add it to the mush, by spraying. Along with about another 140 chemicals to improve shelf life and taste. I've researched this, and to the best of my knowledge, it is correct. If you add to the mix the hydrocarbons left on the leaf, after kiln drying, another carcinogen, taylor made cigs, are really dicey. No one will convince me that a few and I stress a few, rolled cigarettes, per day are much of a health hazard. The fact that pipe smokers live longer than none smokers, must be a clue to some sort, of balanced look at the problem. During the time I was researching the effects of smoking. I was fairly dumfounded myself as to benefits. This might sound a bit reactionary to the present anti smoking industries.. and I apologise if I've hurt anyone's sensibilities .but I think that its past atmospheric bomb testing with regards to strontium levels, that would be the main culprit for causing a disease that wasn't on the radar before they started."

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