Quit smoking by smoking … lettuce? Bravo Smokes for smoking cessation.

On my lengthy commute, I tend to listen to a lot of radio. The other day, I heard a radio ad for Bravo Smokes, advertised as an alternate way of quitting smoking. Highlighted in their advertisement and echoed on their site is the fact that their faux cigarettes are made of lettuce:

BRAVO® is made from the leaves of pure fresh lettuce, processed and treated with enzymes and flavored pleasantly with organic herbal extracts.

Now, I’m a smoker. I love smoking. I don’t just mean that I’m addicted to nicotine. I mean, I love smoking. I love the ritual of it, the taste and after-taste, the social aspects of it, the physical and physiological effects of it, everything. But, I also realize the many proclaimed negative side-effects of smoking, so I’ve begun the process of quitting, for the sake of my health, my wife and kids and our finances. So, this ad drew my attention and got me curious, so I had to look into this new Bravo Smokes product.

At first glance, it sounds like a great idea: smoking cessation through a tobacco-less and nicotine-less smoking substitute. Actually, it really is a great idea, but what about the cost? Today’s prices for a pack of name-brand cigarettes in New Jersey hovers around the $6-range (yes, and people whine like little babies about the cost of gasoline, give me a break). There’s very little benefit in buying cigarettes in 10-pack cartons, maybe saving a few dollars overall. According to the NJ Taxation website, as of May 2005, state tax on cigarettes is $2.40 per pack — this is state cigarette tax only. According to the RJ Reynolds website, there’s an additional $0.39 per pack of federal excise tax. So, before sales tax, on a $6.00 pack of cigarettes in New Jersey, $2.79 of that is pure taxes. In other words, the retail price of the cigarettes before taxes is a much more reasonable $3.21 per pack. Got that?

Back to the Bravo Smokes product, according to their online store, the “Heavy Smoker’s Survival Kit” — regardless of state you’re ordering from, because there should be no state or federal cigarette tax since these aren’t cigarettes — costs $92.50 as of this writing. What do you get for your money? Eighteen (18) packs of Bravo Smokes along with a how-to guide on quitting smoking. Assume for a moment that the how-to guide has no value, in which case they’re charging $5.13 per pack of their Bravo Smokes. What is wrong with this picture?

Okay, fine — I’ll concede that the how-to guide and other included literature have some non-zero value. So, how much do they need to be valued in order to “break even” with 18 packs of pre-tax cigarettes? $3.21 * 18 = $57.78. $92.50 – $57.78 = $34.72. Any smoker reading this who thinks that the non-smokable literature is worth nearly $35, raise your hand. I didn’t think so. The reality is, lettuce has to be cheaper to grow and farm than tobacco, so they should cost less than real cigarettes anyway, which means the implied value of the literature is even higher.

This is exactly the problem with the entire smoking cessation product industry — they realize that smokers are willing to pay exorbitant prices to feed their tobacco and nicotine addictions, so they jack the pricing on their products to match. What’s forgotten is that unless the smoking cessation products are made cheaper than the costs of the actual smoking itself, it just doesn’t make sense to use them and quit — in the short term. Of course I realize that the long-term cost savings of not smoking at all outweigh the recurring costs of cigarettes, but that’s not how these kinds of decisions are often made. If we avoided spending money on short-term luxuries because of their long-term costs, think about how few things people would actually ever spend their money on. I wonder what the guys behind Freakonomics have thought about this and what they might have to say.

On a positive note, through sheer will-power alone, I’ve reduced my smoking habit from just under a pack a day (roughly 18 cigarettes a day) down to between 6 to 8 cigarettes a day. I’ll do this for a few months, until I don’t feel quite so on-edge when I’m actively resisting the urge to smoke, and then I’ll probably cut it down to 3 to 4 cigarettes a day or maybe less. Then, eventually, I’ll just quit smoking cigarettes altogether …

… but it would have been nice if a pack of Bravo Smokes cost $1.50, because then I’d just keep smoking those, instead. :-) Oh well!

Update: Found this interesting document from the owner of Bravo Smokes: Statement by Puzant C. Torigian, President, Bravo Smokes, Inc., Hereford, Texas Before Committee on Commerce of the United States Senate. It’s an interesting read, if nothing else.


  1. I too heard about Bravo on the radio, and looked them up just today. Nearly $100- far too much! Even though in theory you would save money if quitting, I never spend $100 at a time on my addition- that said- it is a psychological mistake to price that high. Perhaps they should offer smaller quantities at reduced pricing to entice more of us smokers to switch….hmmmm. I am using Swedish Fish(the candy) as my crutch as I struggle to quit after nearly 20 years. $4.00 per pound. I am on my second.
    Good luck.

  2. Nichole: the danger with food substitution as a cessation method is the weight gain, especially with sugary products like Swedish Fish. Of course, if it helps you quit, then that’s great … but then, how do you quit your Swedish Fish addiction?

  3. 'Tom Kat' says

    Yeah, shame on those who leech on quitters like the vampiric parasites these quit-product producers do.

    For sure, they can legitemately (like in any business) make a profit on the stuff they sell, but jacking up the prices out of all sanity (and yeah, putting the breakdown etc into UK terms, it still is damn pricey a method given that the core product costs ferk all to grow).. well, i figure that they are literally cashing in and if they aint careful, will drive away their market.

    No, they are well and truely wrong to think that quitters are so desperate that they’ll stump up big money for quit-products because we did bear ciggy prices – but if you are quitting on finanacial and health reasoning, why would you go pay over-the-odds for a substitute..??

    Crazy :p

  4. I think the economics are a secondary consideration. The real issue is “Do you want to quit?” I did want to quit. I have been smoking for 33 years. I smoked 1.5 packs a day. I lit my first smoke before my feet hit the floor in the morning.

    3 1/2 weeks ago my order of Bravo smokes arrived. 3 weeks ago I had my last tobacco cigarette. These Bravo things are providing a nice crutch, as 33 years worth of nicotine leetches its way out of my every pore. They are self limiting in that they taste terrible! I’m down to about 5-6 a day.

    As to the economics, with shipping I paid $5/pack v. $6/pack for Marlboros in NJ. So right out of the box I’m saving $1.50/day. Because a pack of these nasty tasting things is lasting me 3 days, my per day cost is $1.66 v. $9. I’m saving $7.34/day!

  5. I definetly agree that it feels like anything that is good for your body costs more money. I did purchase the Bravo cigs because I absolutly would like to quite smoking and I just had my first Bravo cigarette and it taste digusting but I am glad they do this way I will stop smoking and because I spent so much money on buying them I will not resort to going out and buying more cigarettes. All I have to say is good luck to everyone who is attempting to quite and I know I will need some good luck also!!!!

  6. Mine is a question not a comment.
    I have been able to keep my smoking down to a moderate amount.
    The only time It really gets bad is during football season.
    During the games on Sunday I really like my smokes along with my drink.
    So the real question is will Bravo Smokes be safer, and not have me fighting every minute to not light up my next cigarette?

  7. Bob: Apparently, Duke University Medical Center researchers did some study on the effects of alcohol and nicotine back in March 2004 (see this article on About.com for details).

    Here’s a quote from the article:

    “A relatively low dose of alcohol — below that required to induce any measurable euphoria — was enough to increase participants’ enjoyment of nicotine significantly,” Rose said. “In light of the current finding, it makes sense that so many people who have quit smoking relapse when they drink.”

    To try and answer your question, my gut tells me that while Bravo Smokes should be safer than traditional nicotine cigarettes (as they don’t contain nicotine), they likely won’t curb your increased desire for nicotine when you consume alcohol.

    Let us know how it works out for you, Bob. Thanks for asking!

  8. I agree that the economical concerns are really not that much to worry about. If you’re spending $6.00 on a pack, and you cut it down to $5.12 a pack, who cares? That’s like running out and buying a pack every day instead of just buying the carton, because (o god) if you bought cartons you might be a smoker. And yeah, I’m a smoker and I love it – what I want to know is if i can learn to appreciate the taste of Bravo ciggarettes, can i smoke them for the rest of my life and still reduce my chances of smoking related illness.

  9. glucosamine says

    Even Bravo Smokes Corporation agrees that a person should not smoke anything,even their products, but at least by smoking Bravo or Fumarillo a smoker has a better chance of quitting altogether.

  10. christina joseph says

    Smoking and drinking alcohol not only cause impotent but indirectly effect the phisiological system as well.

  11. So I quit smoking yesterday at 6pm. Why? Who knows? I only smoke a pack a day and have no ill effects from it. However, I’m 65 and think that there could be possibly some problem as time passes. In any case, I’d never pay almost $100 for a quitting kit. Give me a break. My cigs only cost $14 a carton…made in Miami. Wonderful taste too.
    So I paid $42 for a box of Commit and I’m sorry I did. The lozenges taste like crap and they leave a back bite in my throat. I’ll do this cold-turkey, or I’ll go back to smoking. Cheers!!

  12. I dont know but why i don find such informative and profitable blogs so often,I suspect blogging world is becoming so small that we cant find such lucrative blogs like this one.

  13. Steve Harold - Hypnotherapist says

    Whether it is right or wrong for this substitute to be so expensive, one thing is for sure, those who buy it are more likely to have made a commitment to stop because of the high price. I have found that those who have made a “decision to stop” rather than “trying to stop”, are more likely to succeed.

  14. Bravo worked for me. I’ve smoked for 35 years and have tried every possible method of quitting. I’ve come close to making it several times, but when the urge got too strong, I headed to the store to buy a pack or bummed off a friend, and before long I was smoking again. The Bravos were there for me at those moments – a simple placebo to get me past those most serious urges. I haven’t had a real cigarette for almost 4 months. I now only light up a Bravo once in a while – usually because I’ve had a few beers with some other smokers. When you quit cold turkey, you must deal with your addiction and your habit at the same time. If you use a patch or something like it, you deal with your habit first, then still have the addiction to contend with. With Bravo, you deal with the addiction first. Once you get past the withdrawal, you can then deal with the habit. I don’t want to smoke anymore, but I will definitely keep some Bravos around for those moments when I think I just can’t stand it if I don’t light up. Smoking a Bravo doesn’t feed the addiction, so it won’t set you back in your progress. It only feeds the habit. They’re worth the expense if you really want to quit.

  15. Kim: Congratulations on your success and thank you so much for sharing your success story with us! That’s great to hear.

  16. ruyanstore says

    An alternative way to quit smoking is the e-cigarette.

    The original and patented RUYAN e-cigarette can definitely help you quit smoking, through its step-by-step program. The e-cigarette comes with high, medium, low and no nicotine cartridges The composition is as follows: 6% – 0.1% nicotine (high-medium-low), 80-90% non toxic propylenglycol, less than 5% flavouring substances .

    It tastes and feels like a cigarette and gives consumers the same immediate satisfaction like any normal cigarette, without the harmfull substances that cause cancer and other deseases. Basically you smoke a lot healthier using the e-cigarette. It’s your choice.

    You can smoke the e-cigarette in public places, it does not emit harmfull second hand smoke and finally I don’t need to brush my teeth anymore before kissing my girlfirend :p

    You might want to check out these remarkable and funny ads from the No Stank You campaign: http://www.doh.wa.gov/Tobacco/media/youthcampaign.htm

    For more info regarding the e-cigarette, drop me a note. ruyanstore@yahoo.com

    Thank you for smoking!

  17. I bought the RUYAN e-cigarette at china website http://www.RuyanChina.com it cost USD 208 over there. It
    took 8 hours to load the battery then I got my first experience…wow. It tastes like a cigarette, although not like my previous brand, but most important it gives you the same immediate efffect. It still is a bit strange, not a lot of people are using it right now and when I go out everyone is so curious about it. The first time I smoked it in a bar was really funny, they thought it was a real sigaret and asked me to go outside and smoke. I showed them how it works, they werre amazed, lol, and let me smoke inside. To all the smokers with a real heavy addiction (like me), this really works.

  18. Warning: this Ruyanchina website is a scam, they’ve ripped me off with their products. Don’t trust them! You’d better buy from an official RUYAN dealer.

  19. Attention: Further spam-like comments about Ruyan e-cigarettes will be deleted. Also, any comment with a link to a smoking cessation site will be edited to remove the link.
  20. I would be interested in trying these, but i am a very light smoker and only would need 2 or 3 packs. Anyone intersted in going in on a survival kit? Message me on AIM: assumenothing466!

  21. QuitSmoking Counter will tell you exactly!
    The online counter that measures smoking cessation and the length of time the person has stopped smoking, money you saved and extra live gained!

  22. I was a smoker for about 10 years (on and off at times). I tried cold turkey before and made it 6 months, twice. Then just 3 weeks ago i tried the gum, Nicorette. It helped breaking the habit of going outside after each meal and after a few drinks on the weekends. Once i took myself off the gum, i had a breakdown. Nothing serious but my cravings for a cigarette were so strong, as if i just quit the prior day. if i was going to continue to chew the gum and ween myself down from it, i realized that it was going to take a very long time as well as cost a lot of money.

    I was then approached by my boss and he asked me about how my quitting was going. I told him the same thing i have told all of you above. he said to me “try bravo smokes”. i was confused on this since i never heard of this. i google’d it and found the site. I read all of the testimonials and blogs i could find about these cigarettes.

    I then said “ah what the hell” and bought a twin pack of two packs. They were a cheap 1 dollar and shipping was 10$. So i got two packs for 11 dollars. that is cheaper than i was paying for two packs of parliments at my local 7-11 or wawa.

    Well the bravo’s came today. I can say they are different, but not bad. I do enjoy smoking, always have. but i need to quit and i can honestly say i think these may be the answer. Once i get used to these(probably after 1 pack) i will be able to fight off my addiction to nicotine and beat that aspect of it. once that is done, i can then take bravo’s out of my life and attack the habit. The habit was easy, its the damn addiction that is the hard part. And for years i swore that was the exact opposite. i always thought that the habit was the thing that i could not get over…..in a sense it is. I enjoy it, but after going cold turkey before and using the gum now, i do see that the addiction to nicotine is the hardest thing to give up.

    I will continue my quest of non-smoking happiness, i really need it. I think bravo will get me there in the end and i wish everyone who REALLY wants to quit and who NEEDS that extra help to fight the cravings, to give bravo a shot. Its taste is like an herb-based cigarette and the feeling in the chest/lungs is VERY similar to a real cigarette. this is not the case for the electronic cigarettes, in which case i had two of them as well. mini e-cig did not taste or feel anything like smoking and i sold them off on ebay quite quickly.

    Well i hope my ranting about this was helpful to someone and wish everyone the best of luck in this grueling process of quitting smoking.

  23. Just got a carton of bravos. I stopped smoking nicotine cigarettes 4 days ago and have only smoked bravo smokes when I felt cravings. So far it looks like I may be quiting as I have not had any thoughts of going to the store to buy normal cigarettes. Whenever the urge to smoke strikes met I lite up a bravo. So far so good – I think this holds a lot of promise and it looks like this makes it easy to quit smoking.

  24. i just purchased bravo today, and i have been searching online for more information about them. That is when I found this blog, it made me feel better to know more about them from other people online. Im excited to try them, I also can not get rid of the habit of having a cigarette in my hands. I work 3rd shift and have lots of time on my hands to smoke,LOL

  25. Back in the good old days, we would go to the grocery store and cut out the lettuce hearts, take them home, dry them out and smoke them to get a buzz.

  26. Very interesting stuff. However, what happens if you get addicted to smoking lettuce? You would then have to order $100 worth of smokes every time you find yourself running short. And has anyone thought of the long term effects? What about the side effects after, lets say, 5 years? The drug companies do intensive research on long term effects before releasing a product. The same should apply to this product.


  27. Electronic Cigarette says

    The Electronic cigarette do not quit smoking, nothing replaces the will. However, it can

    replace some cigarettes daily and allows smoking in public places.

  28. Hi, I’m a student at Metro State of Denver. I’m researching a new product possibility; the product would be a “Quit Smoking” aide that offers a stepping down approach. I am a former smoker myself but I’m addicted to Commit lozenges and they contain nicotine. I would still buy them if they had zero mg of nicotine but they don’t offer that. I would like to market a product that does. Anyways, I made this survey for my research project and it would really help me if anyone could take it [smokers, former smokers, and non-smokers are all welcome] Thanks so much. — Casey Here’s the link to the survey. http://www.surveygizmo.com/s/206243/r2zgt

  29. have you heard of arriva? its a tobacco lozenge thats removed the cancer causing TSNA’s but kept the nicotine and they are goi for FDA approval in a few weeks.

  30. lol smoking lettuce… i’ve tried ecigs and didn’t like them… guess i’ll just have to be old fasion and go cold turkey… and by that i don’t mean smoking turkey lol

  31. I was a smoker for 15 years and I used Zyban and puffed on cigar when I got the urge for a cigarret (no inhale) .. and I finally quit. I also found some good help on how to quit here http:www.goldnaturals.com
    thanks in advance for your help

  32. I smoked for over 30 years. I’d try to quit and not smoke for a month or even 2 months at a time then I’d get pulled back in. I tried various products for smoking cessation and while many worked they just didn’t work well enough, and every time I’d go back to tobacco I’d feel guilty. My doctor said “Just keep trying because no matter how many times you go back there are a few weeks when you’re smoke free and that’s go to be an advantage. One day you’ll quit and not go back.”

    I was over 2 packs a day and one day I got to coughing and hacked up something that looked like it came from another planet. I looked at it and said “I need to quit and NOW. If I don’t I am going to DIE”

    So I ripped the filter off every smoke I found in the house and ran the cigs down the garbage disposal. I washed all my clothes, cleaned the house within an inch of its life and aired the place out.

    I have not touched tobacco since and am now smoke free for 16 years. Yeah I know.. I used to hate the smug bastards who’d brag about quitting cold turkey myself. But my point is when it came to smokes I had no willpower at all so if I can do it, (weakling that I am), then YOU can do it too.

    Cold turkey is really the only way I have found which works… and it’s the cheapest method as well.

    Here’s wishing all smokers the best of luck for a smoke free tomorrow.

  33. I am by far the most talented musician on youtube and also the most attractive. My friend Jason smokes and I’m worried that I might contract cancer from his second end smoke. It would probably ruin my career and cut into my profit. Advice please.

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