Ten shocking facts you didn’t know about your Backwoods and Swisher Sweets

March 22, 2018

By Tia Muhammad

As my brother lit one up on a Sunday evening, I couldn’t help but wonder what he was truly inhaling into his body. As a long-time medical and personal marijuana user, I assumed he knew– he didn’t.

You see, he had a ritual. He would find his plastic baggy, turn on his music, sit at the dining room table, and commence to prepping his weed. He’d crumble it and break it down into tiny, itty bitty pieces. Then, he’d take out his Backwoods or Swisher Sweets, dump its contents, then began wetting the entire tobacco leaf with his saliva.

As a germophobe, I couldn’t help but cringe. Then, he’d put all the ground up weed into the leaf, rolled it, then dried it with a lighter.

He said, “that part kills the germs.” –Right.

I myself have partaken in this same ritual. When I got to college, I tried it for the first time. That was actually the first time I’d ever smoked anything, period. I noticed it was “the thing to do.” Either you smoked cigarettes, Black n’ Milds, or weed with Backwoods and Swisher Sweets. It was a socializing activity to be quite honest.

Needless to say, just like him, I had no idea what I was really doing to my body. I knew smoking was bad, but for some reason, I only equated that with smoking cigarettes. Little did I know, what I was doing, was much worse…

Black n’ Milds and other small cigars are more harmful than we think. For starters, it’s ALL tobacco! Yep, the paper we use to roll our weed is tobacco and the ground up bits we pour out are pieces of MORE tobacco. If you smoke your Swisher Sweets intact you’re getting a double dose of that tobacco, and that’s even worse.

If you’re curious, just like I was, take a look at these hard-hitting facts you probably didn’t know about your go-to Backwoods and Swisher Sweets:

1. It’s addictive. Backwoods and Swisher Sweets are in fact small cigars, or “blunts”, and are just as much addictive as cigarettes and they kill like cigarettes, too.

2. It’s ALL tobacco. A Backwood or Swisher Sweet typically consists of two main parts: the inner leaf, which is similar to a cigarette rolling paper, except it is made of tobacco, and a thicker outer leaf which is rolled around the inner leaf in a spiral.

3. It’s not safer. Despite what you may have heard cigar smoking isn’t safer than cigarette smoking, even if you don’t intentionally inhale the smoke.

Like cigarette smoking, cigar smoking exposes you to nicotine. Cigars, like cigarettes, contain nicotine, the substance that can lead to tobacco dependence, multiple types of cancer, autoimmune disease, heart disease, blood diseases, lung disease, oral disease, vision impairment, bone loss, and can affect the reproductive system.

4. You can’t interchange your risks. Switching from cigarette smoking to cigar smoking can be particularly harmful because you might inhale cigar smoke the way you inhaled cigarette smoke. The more cigars you smoke and the deeper you inhale, the greater the risks.

5. Numbers don’t lie. A study showed, 480,000 people die prematurely in the United States each year due to smoking tobacco or being exposed to tobacco smoke.

6. It might be a scam. Many Swisher Sweets, also known as “small cigars” have the same size and shape as cigarettes, and, like cigarettes, are sold in packs of twenty, often with filter tips. But these “little cigar” cigarettes exploit loopholes in existing legal definitions of cigarettes to escape being regulated or taxed as cigarettes, making them much more available and affordable, especially to youth.

7. They’re marketing to your kids and you don’t even know it. Much of the growing popularity of small cigars and cigarette-like “little cigars” comes from the explosive growth in flavorings, such as candy, fruit, chocolate and various other kid attracting tastes.

Completed research on flavored cigarettes shows that they are being tried and used primarily by youth. A cigar retailer once commented, “The flavors attract customers.”

8. 1 joint = 20. Researchers found that smoking only one joint is equivalent to 20 cigarettes in terms of lung cancer. While studies in the past have shown that marijuana can cause cancer, few have actually established a strong link between marijuana use and the actual incidence of lung cancer.

9. Weed and tobacco don’t mix. Cigar wrappers contain tobacco and nicotine, which may interact with the cardiovascular system and subjective effects of the marijuana to produce a different set of effects and risks. So, in all actuality, you’re not getting the purest form of what you’re truly trying to partake in.

10. Black men should take extra precaution. Of all ethnic/racial and gender groups in the United States, African American men are the most likely to develop lung cancer and also to die from the disease.

Overall, I learned a lot. First, if you smoke, the best thing you can do for your overall health is to just stop. End it now before you look back and you’re much older and your body can’t fight off diseases so easily. Know that help is available!

If you smoke now, smoked in the past or been around a lot of smoke, talk to your doctor about whether you should be screened for lung cancer based on your age and smoking history.

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