The trend of alternative tobacco products has had a significant effect on the tobacco market in recent years. The demonization of “Big Tobacco” and growing health concerns over processed cigarettes steer more consumers towards ATP’s or alternative tobacco products. This emerging market has seen significant growth in recent years, particularly among late teen and individuals in their twenties. Nicotine extraction and unadulterated tobacco products are by far the most prevalent, with dokha tobacco and vaping products being the most popular. These products have seen a rapid growth in market size in the last decade, particularly in the United States and Europe. Although there are many other lesser know ATP’s available for consumers.
Dokha – Dokha is a pure, unadulterated, Arabic Nicotiana Tabacum strain that has been selectively bred to grow in the climate of the Persian Gulf. Most forms of Cigarette/Cigar tobacco are processed and aged. Dokha dries relatively quickly to preserve the natural color and taste of the tobacco. This also helps mantain a high nicotine content while remaing very smooth compared to strains of Nicotiana Rustica. Dokha is smoked out of a small pipe called a “Medwakh”. These pipes are made from a variety of materials and have a changeable filtered tip at the end. The advantages of dokha are numerous. Besides being additive and chemical free, only a few puffs are necessary to deliver a powerful, satiftying buzz. Smoking dokha will also keep the smokers hand, clothes, and hair smelling smoke-free. It is becoming more popular in the United States and the United Kingdom in the past few decades. You can find all of our fine blends at Here
Hookah/Shisha – Although the exact origin of the hookah is still debated, it widely accepted that hookah or “nargila” in Arabic originated somewhere in modern day Iran or Afghanistan. This tall, ornamental water-pipe was smoked by the elite of the region. It rumored to have been created by a doctor as a “healthier” method of smoking due to the very low burning temperature of the tobacco itself and the cooling and filtering nature of water in its base. Tradtional shisha was a light, Tombac or Oriental sun-dried tobacco naturally low in nicotine which was mixed with molasses. Today, shisha tobacco is mostly made from Virgina Brightleaf tobacco that is boiled and washed to lower the nicotine and tar even further and remove most of the tobacco flavor. A small amount of vegetable glycerin is added to the blend as well as a variety of flavored syrups. Middle Eastern shisha is still mixed with molasses while American made shisha is typically mixed with honey.
Electronic Cigarettes/Vaping – By far the most rapidly growing ATP market in the last decade, vaping e-juice has seen a massive rise in popularity in the United States. e-juice contains nicotine extracted from Nicotiana Rustica, vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, and artificially flavored syrup. A vaporizer normally consists of battery, main housing, interchangeable cartridges, and an atomizer or cartomizer. The battery generates power to the heating element in the atomizer or cartomizer, which contacts the e-juice and transforms it into water vapor to be inhaled. The idea of nicotine delivery without plant combustion is the argument for vaping being a healthier product. Although this seems reasonable to some people, no long term studies have been conducted on vaping and it’s effects on the body. Recently, researchers have been looking into a link between cases of pneumonia and vaping due to the inhalation of water vapor into the lungs.
Smokeless Tobacco – Smokeless tobacco is a tobacco product that is often referred to as chewing tobacco or “dip”. Rather than processing tobacco leaves in long strips for use in cigars or cigarettes, it is coarsely shredded and often moistened with added sweeteners or flavorings. This tobacco is typically sold loose in a packet or formed into small cans that are known as plugs. A wad of tobacco is placed between the lower lip and gums where nicotine is delivered through the thin membrane in the lower mouth. Smokeless tobacco is typically made from fire-cured dark leaf tobacco such Kentucky Dark, Perique, or other hyprids. Like vaping, the argument that eliminating plant combustion has a better over all health effect. Extensive research has shown that smokeless tobacco carries the same damaging effects as smoking tobacco. In fact, some smokeless tobacco products have shown to contain even higher concentrations of nitrosamines known to cause cancer.
Snus – Another smokeless tobacco product that is very similar to American dip or chew. Snus traces it’s origin back to 18th century Sweden as an alternative to dried snuff or snorting tobacco. The main difference between chewing tobacco and snus is in the type and preparation of the tobacco. Where chewing tobacco is fire-cured Darkleaf, snus is made from Orinaco or Brightleaf tobaccos that are pasteurized. This reduces the harshness and acidity of the to finished product allowing the user’s saliva to be swallowed instead of having to being spit out. This is desired by consumers as it is less invasive to other individuals. Snus is dry and more finely ground than chewing tobacco. Consumers claim it has a better, sweeter taste. Snus has gained rapid popularity in the United States and Europe with the claims that snus is less harmful than chewing and smoking tobacco. Although this is still widely debated, research has shown that Snus contains far less nitrosamines and carcinogens than chewing tobacco and certain smoking tobacco products. Risk to oral issues such as gum disease, tooth loss, heart issues, and oral cancers still remain.
Snuff – Snuff is a dried, finely ground or powdered tobacco that is inhaled or snorted into the nasal cavities. It is the same type of tobacco and essentially processed the same way as chewing tobacco with the exception that it is un-moistened and unflavored. Snuff was the earliest form of smokeless tobacco that became popular in Europe, especially among women within the elite and royal classes. Smoking tobacco was considered “unlady-like”. Therefore, this discreet method of of tobacco consumption was created as as argueably the first alternative tobacco product.
Rapeh (Pronounced “Ha-pay”) – Coming from the jungles of South America, this is a very powerful shamanic form of snuff. This tobacco has been used both medicinally and ceremonially for thousands of years by tribes around the Amazonian Basin. It consists of Nicotiana Rustica, sacred Ash Tree, and other medicinal herbs that are ground into a fine powder. The Rustica tobacco is typically processed in the Mapacho style. Leaves are marinated in water, honey, vanilla, and spices then fire-cured for several days or up to a week. Like snuff, the tobacco is consumed through the nasal cavities. Instead of the being snorted however, rapeh is blown through a special pipe called a “Tepi” into both nostrils by another person. There are special “V” shaped pipe called a “Kuripe” to self-administer rapeh. Only recently has rapeh made it’s way onto the scene in North America and Europe. Due to strict exportation laws around rapeh in many South American countries, the availability of this products is still somewhat limited.
Bidis – These are small, hand-wrapped, unfiltered flavored cigarettes originating and still very popular in India. Betel leaves and/or high nicotine dark strains of Indian tobacco such as Jaffna or Kanburi are rolled with other herbs or flavorings inside a Tendu leaf and tied by a small string on one end. Called the “poor man’s smoke” in India for centuries, bidis have gain popularity in the West and are often marketed as more of a natural and herbal smoking alternative. Although quality and ingredients can greatly vary, research has shown that bidi cigarettes can actually be more harmful overall than conventional cigarettes. Recently the Food and Drug Administration has banned the sale of bidis in the United States due to the flavorings that are added to this alternative tobacco product.
Cloves/Kretek – Originating in Indonesia in the 19th Century, clove cigarettes ironically were created as a method of relieving chest pain and use very little to no tobacco. Legend has it, a local doctor in the central region of Java attempted to treat his patients by rubbing clove oil on their chests. He soon realizes that a greater result can be achieved by smoking a mixture of tobacco and clove buds. Clove cigarettes typically contain an equal portion of tobacco, clove buds, and herbs, flavorings, and/or spices. One brand of clove cigarettes contains over 30 different types of tobacco. The name “Kretek” is given to the blend due to the crackling sound it makes when ignited. It is estimated that 90% of smokers in Indonesia consume some kind of clove cigarette product. This is due the extremely high government tax on traditional “white” cigarettes as they’re referred to by locals. Cloves have become a very popular product in the West among casual or social smokers. This is due to the lower nicotine content and pleasant, aromatic taste and smell of clove cigarettes. Like bidis, the sale of clove tobacco products is subject to ban in the United States due to the flavors and additives that are present.
The growing sense that traditional processed tobacco and manufactured cigarettes are less than ideal is becoming ever more present to the consumer. Chemically stripped, low quality tobacco that is reconstituted as filler is shown to be more harmful than just the tobacco plant in its natural state. The cancer rate among Native American tribes that smoke unprocessed Rustica tobacco is an interesting case-study when examined more closely. It is clear that the consumers are looking at alternative tobacco products more as time progresses. Health concerns, high taxes on cigarettes, being less intrusive to others, or having the something new are all factors why this particular market has seen such a dramatic surge in the last few decades.