Okay, I didn’t smoke one of these as my first (wake-up) cigarette of the day. Nor as the second (with-coffee) one. Nor as the third (after-coffee) one. For someone like me, an unrepentant smoker who finds a ‘No Smoking’ sign a heartbreaking sight, a “nicotine-free, tobacco-free" cigarette seemed like an oxymoron. (a bit like Mumbai without disgraceful traffic). I mean, why smoke unless I can get that nicotine and tobacco into my bloodstream? What’s the point unless I can reduce my lifespan by 8 minutes or so?

But what could it really be, this herbal stuff? I was terribly curious.

Anyway, I put it off till that in-between time when I might not have smoked a proper cigarette.

(Statutory warning: “The Good" and the “Not so Good" sections in what follows might get a little mixed up. I’m not quite sure which is which. Apart from everything else, I’m rather amoral about these things. Make up your own mind.)

The good stuff

Honeyrose herbal cigarettes

And a good thing that was too. I’ve never been to a spa, and if I could get a sense of what that might be like by smoking herbal cigarettes, who am I to complain?

I slipped one between my lips, then brought it out and blew imaginary smoke into the air. Yes, it looked and felt like a real cigarette, and of course, in terms of effect, it felt purely like a rush of naturally grown herbs to my head. Perfect if you want to mime the action of smoking—if that’s your sort of thing. I’m not sure it’s mine.

The not-so-good

As I turned the stick around, bits of, er, well, herb, dropped out of the open end. The filter between my fingers didn’t feel firm enough. Come to think of it, why was there a filter at all? What was it supposed to filter out? Not the rose petals, I hoped.

In the end, I lit the thing. It reminded me more of smoking a joint than a cigarette. The same herby smell, the same looseness of the cigarette between my fingers, the soft dampness of what passed for the filter.

I eventually found something that might be harmful: Yes, Honeyrose has 6mg of tar.

No, I did not send for the leaflet on how to give up smoking that was on offer for free.

Talk plastic

Rs200 for a pack of 20 (and don’t forget the free leaflet that you can send for).