The moment you hear the word herbal, you think of healthy, slightly-hippy, and mystic qualities. Probably a great way to make cigarettes sound less harmful, and it seems to be working with herbal cigarettes.
While being tobacco and nicotine-free, the smoke in herbal cigarettes contains most of the same harmful compounds as regular cigarettes. Smoke of any kind, in general, isn't particularly healing. It harms vascular function, as the lungs are sensitive organs.
Moreover, much like e-cigarettes, the herbal counterparts haven't been researched as extensively as tobacco. As time passes, e-cigs have been found to be much less harmless than most people thought.
There is no telling what exactly you're smoking in a herbal cigarette, and what particular harms that content could have. Considering the mystic branding and appeal only makes the situation sound shadier. Further research into the exact contents of each brand and type would be required to give conclusive evidence about their merits.
One popular brand called Holy Smokes (smart one, I'll give them that,) have a very specific process for manufacturing their herbal cigarettes. Sealed with sage sprays and filled with herbal blends from Argentina harvested either at full moon or new moon, they're a boutique brand that majorly sells online.
That is the case with most of their competitors, as these products are yet to reach the level of popularity to be stocked at the corner cigarette shop. However, they've definitely got people intrigued enough for growing demand.
What Do People Think About Herbal Cigarettes?
"I think I want to try them at some time; I mean anything that starts with spiritual, and ends with cigarettes, I want to try at least once," says Namrata*, 21.
"They're bullshit," counters Amit*, 27.
However, several people see herbal cigarettes as a spiritual experience, a gateway to their consciousness. Different cigarettes are marketed towards different purposes, such as increasing your focus or relaxation. Is that the case? Well, I'll leave that up to you to decide. (Yes, of course, they're available on Amazon.)
*Names have been changed to maintain privacy.