Clove cigarette smoking: biochemical, physiological, and subjective effects

Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2003 Feb;74(3):739-45. doi: 10.1016/s0091-3057(02)01076-6.


Alternative tobacco products such as clove (kreteks) and bidi cigarettes have become increasingly popular among US smokers. The nicotine content of a popular clove cigarette (Djarum Special) filler averaged 7.4 mg; conventional cigarettes contained 13.0 mg. However, smoke yields from standardized machine-smoking analysis indicated it delivered more nicotine, carbon monoxide (CO), and tar than conventional cigarettes. In a clinical study, nicotine delivery, physiologic, and subjective effects of the clove cigarette were compared to their own brand of cigarette in 10 adult smokers (7 males). Average time to smoke the clove cigarette (549 s) and number of puffs (15.1) were significantly greater than own brand (314 s and 9.4 puffs). Increases in venous plasma nicotine and exhaled CO after smoking the clove cigarette (17.4 ng/ml; 6 ppm) were similar to those after own brand (17.6 ng/ml; 4.5 ppm). Maximal changes in heart rate (HR), systolic, and diastolic blood pressures (BP) did not differ significantly between the clove and own brand of cigarette. Compared to their own brand of cigarette, the clove cigarette was rated as better tasting and being distinctly different. Our findings indicate that clove cigarettes deliver significant quantities of nicotine, CO, and presumably other toxic components of tobacco smoke. Taste satisfaction, aromatic odor, and novelty may contribute to their appeal to young smokers.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect / drug effects*
  • Affect / physiology
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / drug effects*
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nicotine / blood
  • Nicotine / pharmacology
  • Smoking / blood*
  • Smoking / psychology*
  • Syzygium*


  • Nicotine