5 Alternatives to Smoking (That Aren’t Prescription Medications!)
Get your nicotine without combustible tobacco – it’s easier than ever
We’re going to begin this article by telling you a few things that you almost certainly already know. Smoking definitely is not fashionable. It smells bad and yellows your teeth. It also ages your face prematurely. In fact, aside from age itself, nothing correlates more strongly with facial wrinkles than smoking. Smoking-related wrinkles start deep in the skin, and by the time you can see the visible evidence of those wrinkles, it’s already too late. Quitting won’t make the wrinkles go away; it’ll only stop them from forming.
There’s also the little matter of early death; smoking causes about 7 million premature deaths around the world each year. So, if you do smoke, it’s definitely in your best interest to quit – but that’s easier said than done.
Here’s the good news: It has never been easier to find an alternative to smoking than it is right now. In this article, we’re going to present six different smoking alternatives that can allow you to get your nicotine without using combustible tobacco. Some of them are so novel that we can almost guarantee you haven’t heard of them before. Most importantly, we aren’t going to discuss a single prescription medication in this article. Let’s begin!
E-Cigarettes and Nicotine E-Liquid Vaping
By far, the most popular alternatives to cigarettes in most developed nations are e-cigarettes from companies like V2 Cigs UK. It’s estimated that about 40 million people around the world vape. The primary reason for the popularity of vaping is that, unlike virtually every other option for nicotine replacement, it delivers a satisfying sensation in the throat and lungs that feels almost the same as smoking. Since you’re inhaling the vapor, e-cigarettes also deliver nicotine to the body much more quickly than traditional forms of nicotine replacement.
E-liquid vaping is also the only form of nicotine replacement that allows you to satisfy your nicotine cravings while enjoying any flavor you can possibly imagine. Using nothing but food-grade flavors, an e-liquid maker can create a vape juice that tastes like a blue raspberry slush, a chocolate chip cookie, a blueberry muffin – you name it. No other form of nicotine replacement comes close.
Tobacco Vaping and Heat-Not Burn Systems
The term “vaping” means two things. One type of vaping is heating a liquid until it turns to vapor and then inhaling the vapor, as we just described above. It is also possible to heat an herb or other substance – such as tobacco – to the temperature at which its active compounds vaporize. When you vape tobacco, you can inhale the nicotine – and enjoy the flavor of the tobacco – without inhaling smoke.
One way to vape tobacco is by packing tobacco leaves into a dry herb vaporizer such as the type that people ordinarily use for substances like cannabis. A more convenient solution, however, is to use a heat-not-burn smoking system such as IQOS by Altria. With IQOS, the tobacco is packaged in little cigarette-like tubes that are ready to insert into a heater and use.
IQOS has already received FDA approval for sale in the United States. Altria has also applied for permission to market IQOS as a reduced-risk tobacco product and has received approval to say that IQOS doesn’t have the same levels of harmful chemicals as combustible cigarettes.
Snus is a type of oral tobacco product that was invented in Sweden and is the most popular form of tobacco there. It typically comes in pre-portioned pouches, and you use it by placing a pouch under the upper lip and holding it there. Swedish snus isn’t the same as American chewing or dipping tobacco. While American smokeless tobacco is fermented, Swedish snus is steam pasteurized. The pasteurization appears to inhibit the formation of tobacco-specific nitrosamines, which are known carcinogens. As a result, Swedish snus is less likely than either smoking or chewing tobacco to cause many smoking-related diseases.
To date, Swedish snus is the only product for which the FDA has allowed the maker to make modified-risk marketing claims. Swedish Match – the company that submitted the successful modified-risk application – is legally allowed to say that using Swedish snus instead of smoking can reduce your risk of bronchitis, stroke, emphysema, heart disease, lung cancer and mouth cancer.
Alternative Nicotine Replacement Products
You’re already familiar with all of the traditional nicotine replacement products that you can buy at your local grocery stores and pharmacies – and if you aren’t, we’ll discuss those shortly. In the meantime, though, companies around the world are developing various types of alternative nicotine replacement products that some people may find more interesting, more fun or more satisfying – whatever it takes to keep you from smoking.
Most alternative nicotine products don’t have wide distribution in brick-and-mortar stores and are only available online. They’re well worth seeking out, though – especially if you’ve tried traditional nicotine replacement and didn’t find it sufficiently satisfying.
These are some of the alternative nicotine products that you can find by searching online.
- Nicotine pouches contain dissolvable nicotine and flavors such as wintergreen, citrus and coffee. They contain no tobacco. You use one by placing it in your upper lip and holding it there.
- Nicotine toothpicks are nicotine-impregnated toothpicks that also contain no tobacco. You use one by simply placing it in your mouth and holding it there as if it were a standard toothpick. If you have an oral fixation and aren’t quite happy with other forms of nicotine replacement, nicotine toothpicks may be perfect for you.
- Tobacco-free dips typically use mint leaves rather than tobacco leaves to create a sensation in the mouth similar to that of chewing tobacco. Some tobacco-free dips contain nicotine, and others do not.
- In the past, companies such as R.J. Reynolds experimented with dissolvable tobacco orbs, strips and sticks. Those products used micro-ground tobacco that, when held in the mouth, delivered nicotine and tobacco flavor while dissolving smoothly. Dissolvable tobacco products first appeared on the market in the late 2000s. They weren’t successful in their initial test markets and may be difficult to find today.
Traditional Nicotine Replacement Products
The last types of smoking alternatives are traditional nicotine replacement products – the ones that have been available for decades and with which you are probably already very familiar. Traditional nicotine replacements are very easy to find because they’re available in most supermarkets and pharmacies. These are the three most common nicotine replacement products.
- Nicotine gum is a chewable nicotine supplement that’s usually enrobed in a candy shell for improved flavor. To avoid the promotion of tooth decay, the candy shell is sweetened with xylitol rather than sugar. To use nicotine gum, you’ll chew it until you start to feel tingling from the nicotine. You’ll then park the gum in your cheek until the tingling subsides, at which point you’ll resume chewing until you feel the tingling again.
- Nicotine lozenges are tablets that dissolve slowly in the mouth. You’ll use one by parking in your cheek and moving it periodically from one side of the mouth to the other until it dissolves.
- Nicotine patches are transdermal patches that deliver nicotine to the bloodstream slowly through the skin. Since a nicotine patch delivers nicotine at a controlled pace, you only need to use one per day.