We know very few smokers who never intend to quit. With the popularity of e-cigarettes and vaporisers, plenty of people who found it difficult to stop smoking have used them to slowly wean themselves off of the habit. However, with the recent crackdown on vaporisers and e-cigarettes across the country, their progress may have been negatively impacted.
Furthermore, with the cheapest legal cigarettes costing as much as RM15.50 a pack, even those who don't seek to quit might be scrambling to look for other ways to get their smoke fix.
Luckily, vapes and e-cigs aren't the only cigarette substitutes smokers can turn to when trying to kick the unhealthy pastime. While there are many other ways to quit smoking, we'll focus specifically on alternative tobacco products that can be used as effective tools in managing the habit while controlling nicotine intake at the same time.
A smokeless tobacco product, you can get these from specialty stores or via locally headquartered online retailers. It's essentially sweetened tobacco leaves packed in tins and meant to be placed between the cheek and gums or lips for chewing. Chewing releases the nicotine and the accumulated juices are spat out.
Good : You can get a nicotine hit without smoking up the place. Your throat and lungs aren't hurt by any nastiness and it helps simulate the oral fixation that some smokers have, replacing the need to breathe smoke with chewing tobacco in the mouth.
Bad : Because it's still tobacco, the health risks are still the same minus the damage to the throat and lungs. Also, chewing does not look sexy. Occasional spitting is unavoidable and it's use in public spaces is extremely unfashionable.
Price*: RM30 a packet, with each packet lasting for 2 weeks
Using it to Quit : Tobacco snuff as it is also known, can be mixed with a product called Mint Snuff, which is just like chewing tobacco, but made with harmless mint leaves. Gradually changing the ratio of this mix can help users wean themselves off of tobacco safely. Alternatively, users can stop smoking cigarettes altogether and progressively chew less and less until the habit is gone.
Not merely a prop for TV detectives, a smoking pipe can actually be a useful tool in managing tobacco consumption. Once you have a pipe and some pipe tools, all you need to buy afterwards is just the tobacco. Plus, you get to look super cool smoking it.
Good : You get to measure out how much tobacco you smoke, and the slower, more deliberate process of packing, lighting, and puffing on a pipe means you spend less time smoking, which gives you more time to look all cool and hipster-like (did we mention that already?).
Bad : Because it's still smoking, you get both the risks of tobacco consumption, as well as the damage to the lungs and throat from breathing in smoke. If you don't consciously use it with intent to quit, you may end up not changing your smoking habits at all. The initial investment cost might also be prohibitive for some.
Price*: RM40-RM100 initial investment, with RM15 recurring cost for half a week's worth of pipe-smoking
Using it to Quit : As said above, the ritual of packing, lighting and puffing a pipe takes a while to set up. The rhythm of smoking a pipe is more contemplative and thoughtful. Since it takes time, it forces the user to not smoke too much during a brief smoke break while still satisfying the oral fixation.
Rolling your own cigarettes is a popular alternative for smokers feeling the pinch of the pricier cigarette boxes of recent times.
Good : You can portion out your own sizes to make your smoke break last as long or as brief as possible. You can even mix the tobacco with flavoured ones. As mentioned above, it's also much cheaper than boxed cigarettes.
Bad : As with smoking pipes, hand-rolled ciggies are still cigarettes. As such, this alternative still comes with the same dangers of tobacco consumption and damage to the throat as well as lungs.
Price*: Rolling paper and loose tobacco add up to about RM20 per week
Using it to Quit : You can customise the sizes of your hand-rolled cigarettes to ever smaller proportions and manage down to the gram how much you're gradually slowing down by.
A Word About Cigars and Shishas
In the case of cigars and shishas (the waterpipes also known as hookah), our research has shown that these alternatives to cigarettes are often much worse than regular ciggies.
With cigars, there's more tobacco and no filter, while shishas have the added risk of communal infection through sharing of the mouthpiece. So if you're planning to quit, do not use these two cigarette alternatives.
As you can see, you don't need vaporisers or e-cigs to quit smoking. There's plenty of other substitutes to cigarettes you can use to wean yourself off of cigarettes if you so choose.
Of course, we in no way condone our readers to try tobacco. It's best if you never start smoking at all. We're merely here to help existing smokers make a more informed decision should they decide to quit using cigarette substitutes other than vaporisers or e-cigarettes.
Speaking of vaporisers and cigarettes, our check out how much money you're actually burning with your smoking habit. The numbers surprised even ourselves.
How has your smoking habit been affected by the crackdown on vapes and e-cigs? Share your story with us and let us know in the comments section down below!
* For the purposes of price comparison, we assume that average smoker smokes half a pack per day.
Photo credits: René Wiborg on YouTube.