Nicotine-free tobacco: Why?

A company from North Carolina called Vector has announced that they are considering paying local farmers (Lancaster County, PA to be precise) to grow genetically-modified nicotine-free tobacco. Question: who the heck wants nicotine-free tobacco? Can you imagine the pitch line? “All the tar, none of the hit!” I would have thought such a product would have about as much appeal as alcohol-free vodka, but, apparently, Vector is so enthused about the project they’re going to pay the local farmers above cost for this stuff. What gives?

WAG: To reduce ones psychological and physical dependence on nicotine.

Contrary to popular belief, especially among anti-smokers, the “hit” isn’t completely dependant on the nicotine in smokes. Carbon monoxide is one good contributor. Nothing like a lack of oxygen to make you feel a little light headed. Also, try sucking half your air through a cotton filled straw for the same amount of time it takes you to smoke a cigarette and see how that affects you.

The fact that you’re doing something with your hands tends to be more addictive than the nicotine itself. Most long-time smokers don’t have a hard time quitting because of the buzz, but because their routine is thrown off. When your used to driving with a smoke in your hand, what do you do when your trying to quit? If you don’t smoke in your house, but instead smoke outside, what excuse do you have to stand out in the cold for five minutes every hour or so? If having a cigarette marks the beginning and end of your lunch time at work, how do you replace that? If you smoke to get away from family on the holidays, what’s your excuse now. If you’re bored, what’s the best way to break up the monotony? Go have a smoke. Damn, now I need one. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the responses. So essentially what you’re saying, st1d, is that the nicotine-free cigarettes could be used by smokers to wean themselves off the physical “routine” of smoking. Makes sense. I don’t see how Vector is going to make money off of it (I assume those cigarettes are going to be taxed in the same way as normal cigarettes), but the idea makes sense.

Same purpose as non-alcoholic beer…you get (some of) the good bits without the bad (for you) bits.

There’s a whole other market you people are forgetting. Nicotine-free cigarettes aren’t just for smokers trying to quit, they’re also for people who enjoy smoking but don’t want to get hooked.

As an ex-smoker, I’d probably buy a pack of nic-frees (or whatever they’re called) because although I don’t particularly want lung cancer, I really did enjoy smoking and I wouldn’t mind a cigarette once in a while. With one of those, I wouldn’t get hooked again (at least in theory).

I’d welcome the chance to switch to a brand of smokes that had fewer detrimental health effects than the generic ultralights I smoke now. Eventually I plan to quit (I’ve done so a few times in the past) but in the meantime, it’d be nice to be able to reduce the amount of damage I inflict on my body every time I light up.

Seriously – what are the ill effects of smoking (I’m familiar only with some) and which ones are caused by nicotine? What about tar*? Carbon Monoxide?


  • Just what the heck is tar anyway?

but… we don’t know if genetically engineered plants are safe… what if it causes cancer! :slight_smile:

I understand the oral fixation - I quit years and years ago, and still suck on pencils and wave them about the same way.

Nevertheless, this new product seems kind of pointless. I always thought that the opposite product made more sense - nicotine without the tobacco. I started a thread on this topic last year - see

Funny you mention that. According to the news release, the reason Vector chose Lancaster County as a test area for the tobacco was because North Carolina tobacco farmers were afraid if their regular crop was contaminated with GM tobacco European markets would ban it.

So, in other words, European markets are happy to import a product they know is dangerous, but will be quick to ban a product that might be dangerous. Logic at its finest.

The new plants might be good for making low-nicotine cigarettes as well - instead of chemically treating the tobacco and putting thicker filters on the cigarette, they could just cut the tobacco with nicotine-free tobacco.

When you burn wood in a fireplace/stove, it produces creasote (sp?), a sticky highly flammable substance that contributes to chimney fires. I’m assuming that tar resembles creasote. (So watch out that you don’t set your lungs on fire! :))

Could you use this NicFree in pipes? I’ve always wanted to try a pipe…

I’m going to chime in as a smoker and say I would love to get my hands on some nicotine-free cigarettes. I’ve tried to quit time and again, and those seem like a good way to slowly work myself off the oral fixation while still doing a less amount of damage to myself.

BTW - does the nicotine cause cancer, or is that what gets you hooked while it’s the other stuff that causes cancer?

Nicotine is the most addictive substance in tobacco. The tar, cyanide, CO, and half a thousand other substances are what deposit smegma-like concretions in the lungs, breaking them down into ineffective emphysematous sacs of phlegm, while they cause DNA and RNA damage to the cells, engendering the opportunity to produce malignancies, which can then travel via the lymphatics to distant organs and set up space-occupying colonies in the brain, liver, bone and other simi-necessary and necessary organs. But what the hey, you won’t be addicted to nicotine!

Bolding mine:

You know, more than all the other nasty things you had to say, the bolded part jumped out and made me really speed up that quitting smoking plan of mine.

Hey Qadgop, how about hitting me with some info on alcohol that will freak me out into not drinking??

Whammo, you mean like “scared sober”? If it worked, I would. When you’re ready to quit, let me know and I’ll recite the facts.

And Crunchy Frog, if I helped speed you to tobacco freedom day, I’m glad. It’s tough to beat. I tried cold turkey, the patch, the gum, even that thing with needles, what do they call that? Oh yeah, morphine. What finally worked for me was a drug therapy, Intravenous nitroglycerine. They gave it to me for my chest pains while I was having a heart attack. Never picked up tobacco or its derivatives again.

You cannot burn cigarette tobacco in a pipe (well, you can, but not very well). It is highly unlikely that they will make nicotine free pipe tobacco, since pipe smokers usually don’t (sic) inhale. (Neither do cigar smokers for that matter.) They usually just hold the smoke in thier mouths as they “puff” away.