According to this AP article, importers of kretek, cigarettes that are flavored with cloves among other things, specifically Kretek, International, a Moorpark, California-based company that purportedly handles 97% of all clove-related smoking products in the United States, has a plan in place that they will execute when the federal ban on clove cigarettes goes into effect at the end of September.
They will simply shift their product offering to clove cigars.
Cigars, you see, do not fall under the federal cigarette ban as they are, by definition, not cigarettes. Any tobacco wrapped by paper is a cigarette. Any tobacco product, however, that is wrapped by tobacco leaves, is by definition, a cigar.
So they plan on replacing their cigarette offerings to their kretek-smoking public with clove-flavored cigars.
Now having consumed both, I know that there is a distinctive difference between cigarette tobacco and cigar tobacco. Cigar tobacco undergoes a different curing process giving the tobacco smoke a harsher quality that often prevents cigar smokers from inhaling the smoke into their lungs.
However, according to the American Cancer Society, former cigarette smokers that turn to cigars in order to maintain their habit often inhale the smoke as is their habit.
From the American Cancer Society:
“While almost all cigarette smokers inhale, most cigar smokers do not. This may be because cigar smoke is generally more irritating. For those who do not inhale, tobacco smoke does not reach the lungs in the same quantity as it does in cigarette smokers. Therefore, the risk of death from lung cancer is not as high as it is for cigarette smokers, but is still three times higher than the risk for nonsmokers. Cigar smokers with a history of cigarette smoking, however, are more likely to inhale. Those who inhale have an increased risk of death from lung cancer eleven times greater than that of nonsmokers.”
“The risks for those who inhale are also increased in other types of cancer. Compared to nonsmokers, cigar smokers who inhale deeply are six times more likely to die from oral cancer, twice as likely to die from esophageal cancer, and 39 times more likely to die from cancer of the larynx. They also face more than twice the risk of death from pancreatic cancer and more than three times the risk of death from bladder cancer compared to nonsmokers.”
So, good news/bad news.
The good news is that those who are hooked on kretek can continue their habit unimpeded by federal law. They just have to alter the product that they purchase. This is in itself fashionable given the number of famous entertainers, both men and women, which have switched to cigars. It has become very classy to hold a tube of burning stinky leaves in your mouth.
The bad news is that the cancer issue that has always loomed as a consequence of this habit is now just that much more of an issue.