First off, to dispel some of the mythos behind cloves containing fiberglass; I have read of the few (and far between) instances of people having problems with bleeding lungs... but it is exceptionally rare and only happens with ludicrously heavy smokers. Any cloves that do contain fiberglass will not have it in the tobacco and clove mixture itself. It is in the filter... and I would go so far to say that if you were to round up all the people that were to have problems with their lungs after smoking a ridiculous amount of clove cigarettes, you would probably find that they were smoking the same one or two brands. I myself have gone through an entire pack of my favorite cloves, Djarums, in one night without coughing up blood in the morning. If you smoke that much on a regular basis, be it cloves or regular cigarettes, get help. Quickly.

The content of clove cigarettes depends on the brand and the type of clove, but generally it is a ratio of 60% tobacco to 40% ground cloves. The quality and grade of tobacco is generally superior to most standard American cigarettes, and cloves are not known to contain any additives or chemical fillers that are as common in the States. The cloves in a clove cigarette are just your standard cooking clove, the same you probably have ferreted away in your kitchen right now.

Cloves are primarily made in Indonesia, and are also called kreteks, which stands for 'crackle'. They are so named because of the crackling sound the ground cloves make while burning. They do burn slower, mainly because unlike standard cigarettes, they do not add burning accelerants to the tobacco and, depending on the brand, often do not use gunpowder rings in the paper (look closely at any common cigarette - you'll see what I mean). Cloves are also packed more densely and will generally last about twice as long as a normal cigarette. They are much more likely to go out by themselves if you are not puffing away on them.

As for being addictive... I know for a fact that they are. I for one am happily addicted to them. The debate about nicotine content in cloves will go on, but you'll generally notice that people that smoke mainly or only cloves usually smoke less, or smoke more for the enjoyment of smoking than simply for the need for a cigarette. Some will disagree by saying that a clove is 'stronger' when inhaled, but this is more likely because of the quality of the tobacco and the presence of the cloves themselves. Clove cigarettes posess a taste that is very different than a standard cigarette, and is described by many as being much more pleasant and 'sweeter'. The casing of the filters on some brands contain a mint flavor that will transfer to your lips while you smoke, enhancing the pleasant aftertaste of a clove. Cloves also have a luscious aroma to them before you actually light them.

You can find cloves at most smoke shops, including the ones at the your local mall. Cloves can also be purchased online through e-tailers such as or even directly from Indonesia at

Variants: Filtered, Non-filtered, Lights and Milds. There are even Menthol Cloves, which taste somewhat like smoking mint candy.

Brands to look out for: Gudang Garam, Djarum, and Sampoerna.

Close cousin: The Indian bidi.

Some information from the 1997 Clove FAQ by James D. Barger

Clove cigarettes are addictive for one main reason: they all contain tobacco. In fact, most clove cigarettes are filled with tobacco soaked in clove oil (with a few bits of cloves thrown in for good measure). Why not fill a cigarette with pure cloves? Cloves do not burn readily. Those of you who actually smoke clove cigarettes on a regular basis should try cutting one open sometime and examining the contents.

As far as fiberglass goes, I have heard the same thing about other kinds of cigarettes (particularly, Marlboro Reds). In my opinion, the fiberglass claim is just an (untrue) urban legend.

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