That all depends on what you mean by alternative. Let’s get something straight: There are no healthy forms of tobacco. While you might be looking to break free from Big Tobacco, they aren’t solely responsible for all 599 ingredients in a cigarette or the 4,000-plus toxic compounds that are present in its smoke. Much of what you’re exposed to is a simple byproduct of tobacco itself; one such chemical is a bronchial dilator that inadvertently increases your dependency on the bad stuff.
This isn’t to discourage you from looking for alternatives — they’re out there. Quitting is no easy matter for many people and weaning yourself off cancer sticks can often feel like an attempt at burying a hollow-tip bullet in an armored safe: It’s not an easy barrier to penetrate. With that out of the way, we’ll explore some of the options that are available to you, including tobacco-free solutions that might actually surprise you. These aren’t meant to be weaning solutions per se but simple alternatives that allow you to stick to a habit without destroying your health down the road. Read on!
1. E-Cigarettes and Vaping
You probably knew this was coming, but it’s a viable option, so let’s lay it out on the table and talk about it for a moment. You’ve heard things, so let’s pull together what we know about vaping and e-cigarettes so far:
- The exact long-term health implications aren’t clear because these products are too new.
- It’s said that these products may cause popcorn lung in some people, but the evidence is scant at the moment.
- Some ingredients that are commonly used in these products may cause cancer and other respiratory complications, but it’s mostly theoretical and not firmly founded in reliable citations yet.
- These products are still generally considered farhealthier than cigarettes on the whole even if they’re not completely safe on their own.
2. Where It’s Legal, Marijuana
Currently, there are seven states that permit recreational marijuana consumption. There are restrictions of course: You must be 21, you can only buy and sell through licensed dispensaries, there’s only a certain amount you can carry on you at once, and you’re only allowed to have a certain number of your own marijuana plants flowering at one time. These laws vary a little by state, but the bottom line is pretty clear here: If you’re looking for a healthier alternative to the tobacco-packed paper rolls, the famous green plant might be worth a look.
The states that currently allow it include: Alaska, California, Colorado, D.C., Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington state. Maineis next in line to allow it. Of course, there are 50 states to account for here, so if you’re not in any of the legal ones, you may be out of luck for now. No, we’re not going to encourage illicit activity — read on to alternative number three for another solution.
3. Other Forms of Mental Occupation
We’re trying to keep it diverse here! This is that other option you may not be thrilled to hear about, but it’s not exactly a secret that the hand-to-mouth motion with cigarettes is a large part of what makes them addictive. You may have noticed this phenomena reproduced with other activities such as drinking and eating; it can be difficult for some people to get started on paper and computer work without something nearby that they can routinely nibble or sip on to establish a rhythm and define breaks in a long series of mundane activities. Fidget spinners, stress balls and other forms of mindless amusement can be added to the mix to help you dispel that nervous itch that otherwise would compel you to smoke.