Why is there no nicotine free tobacco on the market?


#1

I know the obvious reason would be that companies want to hook their customers to the addictive element of the product, but I imagine a lot of people would still purchase a non-addictive (or at least less-addictive) alternative.


#2

Wouldn’t nicotine-free tobacco have all of the health risks, without any of the stimulant benefits?

It sounds like trying to deal with alcoholics who poison themselves drinking denatured alcohol, by removing the alcohol from denatured alcohol and just selling the poison additives to them directly.


#3

Or drinking non-alcoholic beer. Or decaf coffee.


#4

Of course, non-alcoholic beer and decaf coffees are unlikely to give you lung, esophageal, or mouth cancers.

I can’t imagine there being many people that would want to inhale smoke into their lungs without getting anything out of it. I have never been a smoker but the few times I have smoked tobacco the nicotine rush was incredible. I can imagine how easy it would be to get addicted to this.

Without any “reward” or benefit what’s the point of purposefully inhaling smoke into your lungs?


#5

The burnable leaf would have to survive the extraction process (and I cannot imagine this happening, or think of an analogous process from which a comparable mateiral to shreded tobacco leaf comes out the other end), or alternately someone would have to find/breed/engineer one without nicotinoids in it (and that’s a lot of work)? That’s what i can come up with for why not. Impractical.


#6

It’s much more important to get rid of the products of combustion, which are the really nasty carcinogens and probably the source of the second, possibly more massively addictive chemical, the MAOI.

The current best research says nicotine isolate is not terribly addictive; when people who have never smoked wear patches or chew the gum or drink hangover cures, withdrawal is light or even unnoticed. It appears the bigger issue is the combination of the MAOI and nicotine, with the MAOI being the greater contributor, since people who take MAOIs for other conditions have issues withdrawing from those, too. (This study is small, but is consistent with observed behavior on controlled populations of smokers - usually people with schizophrenia living in group homes; there’s a massive link between schizophrenia and smoking as a form of self-medication. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC19495/)


#7

See, I had a different result. I’d never smoked a puff in my life, and when I was 40 I decided to smoke a cigarette just to find out why anyone would do it twice. It was a filtered Camel, and I smoked it down almost to the filter, and other than mild lightheadedness at the end, I could discern no noticeable effect whatsoever. I still don’t get it.

Maybe there’s a stronger brand I should have tried.


#8

Well, cigar smokers don’t even inhale generally. I’m not sure all (tobacco) pipe smokers do either. Not to say they don’t get the nicotine buzz from it…?

Drinking beer is fun. Drinking coffee is nice. Smoking a cigar is fun. I would do all of these things occasionally with their non-intoxicating versions. (Although NA beer is not tasty, and decaf is less tasty)


#9

There’s hebal cigarettes. They don’t have tobacco in them generally. And there’s also brands like Djarum clove cigarettes that have a lot less tobacco in them (1/3 tobacco 2/3 cloves and they practically taste like candy/bubblegum/christmas depending on context)


#10

Serious question – did you actually inhale?

There’s also of course the very real possibility that you’re just not sensitive to nicotine or need a much higher amount to “feel” anything than a typical person. I’m definitely that way with many drugs (recreational and otherwise). It’s part of the reason that I don’t do drugs – it’s way too hard for me to gauge how much I actually need so I end up overdoing it and suffering because of it.

I’m not trying to be the fun police and I agree that activities like smoking cigars, drinking beer, and coffee can be fun. I just don’t see the point in nicotine free cigarettes. So, to @ActuallyARegular’s points about smoking cigars and not inhaling, what’s to stop you from just smoking a regular nicotine cigarette and not inhaling if you’re doing it truly for the “fun” aspect of it? I certainly did this more than once when trying to look cool as a youngling.


#11

Heh. Yes, I did. I rather expected to dissolve into a fit of coughing, but somehow I didn’t even feel that urge very strongly. I expect I would have felt differently when I was a 140 lb teenager, but after 40 years of L.A. smog, engine exhaust, paint fumes, and god knows how many secondhand contaminants, maybe my lungs are too fucked already to notice.

I’ve never been drunk either, mostly because I’ve never found an alcoholic drink that tastes good enough for me to finish more than one. Again, when I was a scrawny teenager, one strong drink might have given me a buzz I could notice (maybe?), but now that I weigh well in excess of two bills, I can’t be bothered to drink enough to feel it.

No biggie, though. I never felt like I was missing anything.


#12

I think with cigars and pipes, you do take the smoke into the mouth (and can absorb the nicotine that way); you just don’t inhale all the way into the lungs.


#13

Is there anyone who actually smokes just for the flavor?

I’ve seen people enjoy rum raisin and coffee-flavored ice cream without the drug benefits but to my knowledge Ben & Jerry never tried to bring “Totally Tobacco!” to market.


#14

(Shudder)


#15

At the same time, I’ve never seen ice cream flavored cigarettes.


#16

It’s anecdotal, but a recurring ‘joke’ is that smoking (was, see UK law) an informal symptom of long term mental health issues generally - due to needing something to do while mostly homebound (domestically or institutionally.)


More generally, here in the UK perspective, it was the smoke allergy and second-hand smoke effects that were drivers for the indoors ban. _(Especially including a famous beloved entertainer dying painfully of lung cancer despite never smoking, but because of the pubs and clubs he worked in all his life.)_

I’m not sure that much of if any of that is due to the nicotine content, and while the US certainly doesn’t have the same laws as we do, the same public health effects would certainly still exist, and be a practical issue. (This from the perspective of looking at why this would not be a good thing, of course - as the OP alludes, non-addictive is a positive for instance, and the are possible uses in quitting smoking, and the muscle/action habit is the same. :slight_smile: )


#17

Why? Because the tobacco industry’s mission statement includes this: “… we’re in the nicotine delivery business.”
That’s their entire raison d’etre.


#18

I wouldn’t bet against a clever solvent extraction prior to drying; but even if that problem were solvable the excercise wouldn’t be any less perverse. Tobacco is sort of an oddball in that the drug part(while crazy addictive) is markedly less dangerous than the delivery mechanism. People drinking non-alcoholic beer or mocktails are skipping the relatively dangerous ingredient. Somebody using de-nicotinized tobacco is getting most of the cancer without the perks.

You might as well go hunting for drug-free dirty needles.


#19

Lots of people vape liquids with no nicotine, so it’s a thing. I don’t understand why they do it, though.


#20