Clove cigarettes, also known as kreteks (pronounced cree-techs), are often mistakenly thought of as a safe smoking alternative. They are not. Produced in Indonesia and distributed worldwide, kreteks are made of up of approximately 60 to 80% tobacco, 20 to 40% ground cloves, clove oil and other additives. Usually machine-rolled, clove cigarettes come with or without filters. While kreteks do not contain the thousands of toxic chemicals that traditional cigarettes do, they are far from good for you.
Kretek (Clove Cigarette) are cigarettes made with a blend of tobacco, cloves and other flavors. The word “kretek” itself is an onomatopoetic term for the crackling sound of burning cloves.
Haji Jamahri, a resident of Kudus, Java, created kreteks in the early 1880s as a means to deliver the eugenol of cloves to the lungs, as it was thought to help asthma. Jamahri believed the eugenol cured his chest pains and he started to market his invention to the village, but he died before he could mass market it. M. Nitisemito took his place and began to commercialize the new cigarettes. Today, kretek manufacturers directly employ over 180,000 people in Indonesia and an additional 10 million indirectly.
Cigarettes With Training Wheels
Like bidi cigarettes, kreteks are often a young person’s first introduction to tobacco. Between the flavor of cloves and the colorful packaging, this type of cigarette appeals to young smokers and is for this reason considered a “gateway” product.