Clove cigarettes Information

Kretek are cigarettes made with a blend of tobacco, cloves and other flavors. The word "kretek" itself is an onomatopoetic term for the crackling sound of burning cloves. Haji Jamahri, a resident of Kudus, Java, created kreteks in the early 1880s as a means to deliver the eugenol of cloves to the lungs, as it was thought to help asthma. Jamahri believed the eugenol cured his chest pains and he started to market his invention to the village, but he died before he could mass market it. M. Nitisemito took his place and began to commercialize the new cigarettes. Today, kretek manufacturers directly employ over 180,000 people in Indonesia and an additional 10 million indirectly.

Partly due to favorable taxation compared to "white" cigarettes, kreteks are by far the most widely-smoked form of cigarettes in Indonesia, where about 90% of smokers usually smoke kreteks. In Indonesia, there are hundreds of kretek manufacturers, including small local makers and major brands. Most of the widely-known international brands, including Bentoel, Djarum, Gudang Garam, Jakarta, Sampoerna, and Wismilak, originate from Indonesia. Nat Sherman of the United States produces cigarettes branded as "A Touch of Clove" but are arguably not kreteks since they contain clove flavoring in the filter rather than actual clove spice mixed with the tobacco.

The origin of kretek cigarettes can be traced to the late 19th century. The creator of kretek was Haji Jamahri, a native of the town of Kudus in Indonesia's Central Java region. Suffering from chest pains, Jamahri attempted to reduce the pain by rubbing clove oil on his chest. Jamahri sought a means of achieving a deeper relief and smoked his hand-rolled cigarettes after adding dried clove buds and rubber tree sap. According to the story, his asthma and chest pains vanished immediately. Word of Jamahri’s discovery spread rapidly among his neighbors, and clove cigarettes soon became available in pharmacies under the name of rokok cengkeh – clove cigarettes. Although first discovered as a medicinal product, kreteks became widely popular outside this capacity.

Wikipedia, Clove cigarettes, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clove_cigarettes (as of Apr 1, 2010)

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