Reverse Smoking – The Problem of Going Reverse


by Christina Matthews

Updated: August 2, 2020

reverse smoking issue

Reverse smoking is an unusual smoking technique of smoking a hand-made cigarette or a cigar with the lit end inside the mouth. It’s common in Andhra Pradesh, India, and the Philippines. It has spread to Sri Lanka, Panama, and even Sardinia. Young people who want to experiment also might try reverse smoking and experience a strong kick of nicotine.

Is Reverse Smoking Dangerous?

Although reverse smoking is not so common and the motives behind it are not very clear, it’s been proven that reverse smoking is a dangerous practice. Reverse smoking has been linked to oral cancer and palatal changes of the mouth. Just like any smoking methods, reverse smoking can lead to cardiovascular diseases, pulmonary diseases, and fatal outcomes.

What Is Reverse Smoking?

Smoking is an old habit with a rich history. There are many ways to consume tobacco and many ways to smoke. However, in this tech-based era of vaporizers, hand-rolled cigarettes are still a classical method, preferred by many. In fact, hand-rolled cigarettes with their precision and devotion make the process of rolling a cigarette a pure ritual. What’s more, people’s creativity has no limits, and smokers come up with some unusual ideas. One of them is reverse smoking.

Reverse smoking is the act of smoking a cigarette, a cigar or just a hand-rolled tobacco leaf with the lit end inside the mouth. In other words, the term ‘reverse smoking’ reveals it all: it’s the other way around.

This practice is common in some parts of India (Andhra Pradesh, in particular), and the Philippines. In fact, a survey of 10,169 people from the rural parts of South India showed that 43.8% of them practiced reverse smoking.

Surprisingly, reverse smoking is a practice that has spread around the world. Some of the countries that know the mysteries of reverse smoking are Sri Lanka, Venezuela, Panama, and even Sardinia.

Why Do People Practice Reverse Smoking?

As reverse smoking is an ancient and uncommon practice, there’s not much information that indicates why people do it. Experts speculate that reverse smoking leads to a quicker nicotine absorption and a stronger kick, just like with the best vapes. Maybe that explains why people prefer reverse smoking: in the end, all the smoke goes into the mouth and the body.

Unfortunately, young people also try reverse smoking, smoking backward can become a “cool” way to experiment.

What Are The Risks Of Reverse Smoking?

Reverse smoking is a dangerous practice. It can cause cancer of the mouth. In areas where reverse smoking is popular, oral cancer rates are high.

It’s been linked to serious palatal changes, leukoplakia, tooth loss, and cancer. In fact, oral cancer is common in people who practice reverse smoking. Experts conducted a study and found out that 73 people out of 100 developed oral cancer. On the other hand, in countries where people do not practice reverse smoking, cancer of the hard palate is not common. Reverse smoking affects all parts of the body and may lead to cancer of the esophagus, the larynx, the pancreas and the lungs.

Just like any other smoking, reverse smoking may lead to cardiovascular diseases and brain damage. Also, reverse smoking can result in mouth burn. Last but not least, reverse smoking is addictive and may lead to fatal outcomes.

Instead of trying to smoke backward, reverse the habit and kick it off.

Published: August 16, 2017Updated: August 2, 2020

Christina Matthews

I love the written word, and in my career as a journalist, I strive to provide the facts about everything I write about. There are too many false and alarmist stories out there about life and vaping mainly. My mission is to make e-cigarettes less scary to people with informative articles and extensive research on not only the possible evils of cigarettes and Big Tobacco, but the objective side of e-cigs.


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