Clove cigarettes are also known as Kreteks. They are made up of 60 to 70 per cent tobacco and 30 to 40 per cent shredded cloves. They were invented in Java, and are mainly consumed in Indonesia, where they account for nearly 90 per cent of all tobacco consumption. They became popular in the United States in the 1980s and continue to be used around the world. There are multiple health risks associated with clove cigarettes due to the fact that they are tobacco products, and also because of the unique active ingredient found in the cloves, eugenol.
Clove cigarettes are still at least 60 per cent tobacco, so many of the respiratory problems associated with normal smoking, such as lung cancer, throat cancer, other mouth, lung and throat infections, as well as nicotine addiction and tar consumption, are all a major health risk.
The main active ingredient in clove cigarettes is eugenol, which is used as anesthetic in dentistry. The long term effects of prolonged eugenol use have not been properly studied, but there are more immediate risks. As it numbs the throat area, there is an increased risk of choking, as the gag reflex can be numbed by the eugenol. There is also a risk that the smoker could inhale the smoke deeper and for a longer time as the nerves in the throat and lungs will not pick up that it is a harsher smoke, and thus more damage can be done to these areas.
Eugenol has also been shown to create an allergy in users, meaning that prolonged use can cause users to develop shortness of breath and respiratory complications as a result of this allergy.
Damage Beyond Normal Cigarettes
The U.S. Center for Disease Prevention and Control has stated that clove cigarettes could produce almost twice as much nicotine, tar and carbon monoxide as regular cigarette brands, making them, if anything, more harmful than normal cigarettes.