The Cigarettes That Were Made With Lettuce

Over the years, several companies have marketed herbal cigarettes and snuff as a safe substitute for tobacco, but the craziest substitute ever was flavored lettuce. In 1959, chemist Puzant Torigian was challenged by a colleague to make a nicotine-free cigarette. He became somewhat obsessed by the idea and began systematically testing tobacco substitutes, finally landing on lettuce. Introduced under the name Bravo Smokes, the cigarettes contained absolutely no nicotine. Reviews of Bravo Smokes were not favorable, with people making comments like, “It’s like smoking old socks,” and “They were worse than dried buggy whip or coffee grounds in a newspaper wrapper.” Nevertheless, the company managed to find a small, niche market selling to smokers trying to quit who wanted something that would replicate the ritual of smoking but without the nicotine. Finally, in 1972 Bravo Smokes went out of business. Torigian attributed the failure to a fallout among the business partners, rather than a lack of demand for the product.