Legal, safe, non-tobacco smokeables?

I’ve been cast in a play which requires me to smoke onstage, and I’d like to practice smoking (holding the cigarette, moving with it in my hand, breathing, the talking/inhaling pattern, etc.) so I look like I know what I’m doing. I’m looking for something to smoke 2-3 times a day for two months that won’t, you know, give me cancer or make my lungs implode, like they tell you. :slight_smile:

I’m not very well-versed in the smoking culture (if you will), but I’ve heard about television actors using herbal cigarettes, and I’m wondering what the 411 is on that sort of thing. I’d like something that produces smoke (so I can learn to inhale/exhale without coughing), burns down (so I know how to move with a cigarette of different lengths, and what it feels like to need an ashtray) and is relatively cheap. Any tips, like brands or websites, would be great.

Since when did Tracy Lord start caring about legal? :eek:

Guest contributor staff report

…whoosh?

Non-addictive, relatively safe herbal cigarettes are available in pharmacies, over here at least.

Problem is, they stink. I mean, way worse than tobacco. They smell like dogshit burning on a pile of flaming ass.

I presume you’ll be using a real cigarette on stage? If you smoked a herbal one, you’d probably clear the front five rows of a regular-sized theater.

I used to be a professional actor, and the non-smokers I trained and worked with practiced with real cigarettes. They took the smoke into their mouths for a few seconds, then blew it out again. It wasn’t totally convincing, but it was non-addictive, and better than nothing.

(BTW, my tip for looking like you smoke normally is your hand position. Your hand should be relaxed, as though the cigarette being there is secondary to the hand’s normal function.)

Safe? None.
ABSOLUTELY NONE! :wink:

[Begin hijack]

From what I can recall Traci Lords was famous for starring in porn movies while under the age of 18. She then went on to star in some legitimate shows/movies as well when she was older.

… Google and slight change of spelling …

Futher information to make sure I had my facts correct has enlightened me on the story … she was in Penthouse at age 15 according to this page (MAYBE NOT SAFE FOR WORK but no nudity).

Traci’s IMDB listing shows she has recently been in mainstream movies and TV but go further down the list and the titles are definitely pornographic. Be careful if searching for her name though, I imagine her fame means her name is a used as a search term on some sites that I definitely don’t want to visit.

Further information:

  • Official website
  • Ask Men Profile “Traci Lords was an adult movie actress who has 107 films to her credit (one after her 18th birthday) …”
  • Wikipedia entry “While Lords decries the pornographic film industry, she continues to use the stage name she gave herself as a minor.”

After it was found Traci was underage all videos she made while under age were withdrawn from sale. Traci has also written a biography, published in 2003.

[End hijack]

  • Yes I have too much time available, why do you ask?

It’s important to remember that particles in your lungs = bad, and inhaling any smoke = particles in your lungs. So nothing is going to be good for you. However, non-adictive is important.

I would recomend practice-smoking less, and holding a cigarette more. It’s the holding that needs to look natural. Try holding onto an unlit cigarrette, putting it in the ashtray for only brief intervals, while you get ready every morning, while you do the dishes, while you talk on the phone.

Herbalist checking in.

It’s mentioned in the staff report linked above, but I’ll just echo it here:

There are no safe herbal cigarrettes any more than there are safe tobacco cigarrettes.

*All *plants have some amount of nasty stuff in them you don’t want in your lungs. Chemicals aside, hot dry air is very bad for your lungs. Many herbs used in herbal smokes actually have more tar in them than tobacco.

But it is possible to make an herbal smoke without nicotine, without many of the chemicals commonly used in cigarrettes that you hear the Truth Campaign going on about (is it just me, or do those asshats make you want to light up?) My suggestion is to roll your own from herbs you know the origin of. It’s really pretty easy.

When I was quitting, I used an injector “roller” and preformed cigarrette tubes to make smokes that were 1/2 tobacco and 1/2 herbal, than 1/4 and 3/4. The injector is cheap, is very easy to use and is available at any tobacco shop or online. If you buy it in a shop, they’ll show you how to use it. They also look just like tobacco cigarrettes, including the filters, so you could make several to use onstage.

The best and least harmful herb for your lungs is mullein. Traditionally, mullein was actually smoked to aid in bronchitis, although, as I said, hot dry air (smoke) is never kind to the lungs. It’s pretty inoffensive in taste. It smells a little like pot to the uninitiated, though. Adding some peppermint leaves gives you a “menthol-like” smoke and hides some of the mullein smell. You can find both of these at Whole Foods in the nutrition department, in their bulk herbs section.

Myself, I won’t smoke purchased herbal smokes. They’re usually too dried out, which makes the cherry (burning end) fall out unpredictably, and they taste like ass. Also, some of them add the same chemicals tobacco cigs have in them to keep them burning steady and quicker. These chemicals are part of the carcinogen problem.

Hmmm…I read somewhere about fake cigarettes that can be “smoked” onstage for non-smoking actors.
Search online for “Theatrical Props”.

Thanks for the link, Eleusis – like I said, I’m totally in the dark about smoking other than “it kinda stinks” and “your lungs will die!”. :slight_smile: Hearing William B. Davis’ comments on the matter were helpful.

The specific tips jjimm and WhyNot gave were great, and I think I will set about rolling my own – it’ll make me feel better, at least, to know what’s in them. :slight_smile: I assume that the rolling machine I found online for $3 will do the trick?

And a note: try Googling for “Tracy Lord” instead of “Traci Lords”. Circa 1940, I believe.

That should do it. Now, behaviorally, here’s what ya gotta do: practice doing unrelated stuff with the cigarrette lit, in your hand. Obviously, go slow and be safe, but a long-time smoker will be able to:

  1. Dial and talk on the phone while smoking. This is easy
  2. Open doors with the hand holding the cigarrette. This is harder.
  3. Clear a table of dirty dishes, scraping food scraps into the garbage and loading the dishwasher, all while holding a cigarrette. This is prob’ly hardest. Master this, and don’t look like a doofus doing it, and no one will even notice whether or not you suck on the coffin nail.