In recent years, the development of a dangerous fad in which young people use clove cigarettes as an alternative to conventional cigarettes has occurred in several areas of the United States and Canada. Many users have the mistaken belief that clove cigarettes are an herbal, "natural," nontobacco alternative. Others are attracted to their use because of the association of clove cigarettes with the image of surfing, New Wave music, and the search for "exotic" and unusual experiences.
More than 170 million clove cigarettes were sold at the height of their popularity in 1984, and sales were still averaging more than 40 million per year in 1985, 1986, and 1987.1(p3) This is even more remarkable when one considers that a significant portion of the consumers are under the legal age of purchase and that these sales have been achieved without the assistance of overt advertising. Indeed, a recent report of California youth in the 10th grade showed that 23% had tried clove cigarettes at least once. Furthermore, one third of those, approximately 8.5%, had used them at least once per month.2
Clove cigarettes are imported from Southeast Asia, principally from Indonesia, and are composed of approximately one third shredded cloves and two thirds tobacco. The type of tobacco in a clove cigarette delivers approximately twice as much tars, nicotine, and carbon monoxide as does tobacco in ordinary American cigarettes.1(pvi)
In addition, substantial amounts of eugenol, an anesthetic agent, are found in cloves and in the smoke of clove cigarettes. The typical clove cigarette smoker inhales approximately 7 mg of eugenol per clove cigarette.
- Copyright © 1991 by the American Academy of Pediatrics