Lungs Full of Tar: The Side Effects of Smoking

The act of smoking, whether it involves tobacco or cannabis, has long been associated with various health risks. Central to these concerns is a substance known as 'tar.' This sticky, brown residue, notorious for its harmful effects on the body, is a byproduct of the combustion process inherent in traditional smoking methods. 

In recent years, however, innovations in smoking technology have opened the door to safer alternatives. E1011 Labs is at the forefront of this revolution with our elon and iven devices. These devices leverage heat-not-burn and dry herb vaporizer technologies, respectively, offering a smoking experience that drastically reduces exposure to tar. This article aims to shed light on what tar is, its creation process, its presence in cannabis joints, and why transitioning to technologies like those used in the elon and iven devices presents a risk-reduced option for smokers.

What is Tar?

a depiction of the tar that is contained in combustion smoke

Definition and Composition of Tar in Cigarettes:

Tar in cigarettes is a complex chemical cocktail produced during the burning of tobacco. It is a sticky, brown substance composed of several chemicals, including carcinogens and other toxic substances. When tobacco burns, it undergoes a chemical reaction that releases these compounds, which then condense into tar particles. These particles are inhaled by the smoker and can coat the lungs, leading to various respiratory issues and diseases.

How Tar is Produced During the Combustion Process:

The creation of tar is a direct consequence of the combustion, or burning, of tobacco. Combustion occurs at high temperatures, breaking down the chemical bonds in tobacco and releasing a multitude of compounds, including nicotine, carbon monoxide, and various other harmful chemicals. As the smoke cools down while traveling through the cigarette and into the smoker's lungs, these chemicals condense and form tar. This process is not just limited to tobacco; it occurs in any organic matter subjected to combustion.

The Impact of Tar on Human Health: Short-Term and Long-Term Effects:

The impact of tar on human health is both immediate and long-term. In the short term, tar can irritate the respiratory system, leading to coughing, throat irritation, and reduced lung function. Over time, the continued inhalation of tar can have more severe consequences. It is a major contributor to lung diseases like chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and lung cancer. Tar's sticky nature allows it to accumulate in the lungs, where it can cause damage to the delicate lung tissue and impair the organ's ability to function properly.

Tar in Cannabis Smoking

tar is present in cannabis joints as well as cigarettes

Presence of Tar in Cannabis Joints:

Similar to tobacco, the combustion of cannabis also produces tar. When a cannabis joint is lit, the burning of plant material triggers chemical reactions that release various compounds, including tar. While cannabis itself contains different chemicals compared to tobacco, the process of combustion still results in the formation of tar and other potentially harmful substances.

Differences and Similarities in Tar Composition Between Tobacco and Cannabis:

The tar derived from cannabis smoking differs in its chemical composition compared to tobacco tar, primarily due to the distinct chemical makeup of the cannabis plant. However, both types of tar share common harmful constituents, such as carcinogens and other toxic compounds. Studies have shown that cannabis smoke can contain higher levels of certain carcinogens than tobacco smoke. Despite these similarities, it's important to note that the overall health impacts of cannabis tar versus tobacco tar are still an area of ongoing research.

Health Considerations Specific to Cannabis Smokers:

For cannabis smokers, the health risks associated with tar are significant. Regular inhalation of cannabis smoke can lead to respiratory problems, such as chronic bronchitis, coughing, and increased phlegm production. Moreover, the risk of lung and airway inflammation is heightened. While the debate on the long-term risks of cannabis smoking, including the risk of cancer, continues, the presence of tar and its potential health implications cannot be overlooked.

The Heat-Not-Burn Technology: A Safer Alternative


heat not burn device for cannabis flower

Introduction to Heat-Not-Burn Technology in the elon® Device:

Our elon device represents a breakthrough in consumption technology with its heat-not-burn approach. This innovative technology heats the cannabis material in our stelo™ flower pods to a controlled temperature that is sufficient to release the active compounds, without reaching the point of combustion. This process significantly reduces the formation of tar and other harmful byproducts.

How Heat-Not-Burn Technology Reduces the Formation of Tar:

By avoiding the high temperatures required for combustion, heat-not-burn technology in devices like our elon ensures that the chemical structure of the plant material does not break down in the same harmful way as it does in traditional smoking. This means significantly lower levels of tar and other toxic substances are produced, making it a much safer alternative to conventional cannabis joints.

Comparative Analysis of Tar Exposure in Traditional Smoking Versus Heat-Not-Burn Technology:

Studies comparing traditional smoking methods with heat-not-burn technology have consistently shown a substantial reduction in the exposure to tar and other harmful chemicals. Users of devices like our elon experience a cleaner inhalation experience, without the high levels of carcinogens and toxins typically found in the smoke of burnt plant material. This not only translates to a lower risk of exposure to harmful toxins, but also offers a more pleasant and less harmful consumption experience.

Dry Herb Vaporization: The iven® Device

dry herb vaporizer device

Exploring Dry Herb Vaporizer Technology in the iven Device:

Our iven® device represents an advancement in the field of smoking technology, specifically targeting cannabis consumers who like to choose their own flower. Unlike traditional methods of consumption, the iven device utilizes dry herb vaporization technology. This innovative approach involves heating cannabis using convection to a temperature that vaporizes cannabinoids and terpenes without burning the plant material. This method ensures the extraction of the desired cannabis compounds without the harmful byproducts of combustion.

Benefits of Vaporization over Combustion:

Like with our elon, the primary benefit of the dry herb vaporization technology in the iven is the significant reduction of tar and other harmful substances. Since the cannabis is not combusted, the production of tar is less than with traditional smoking. This reduction in tar not only enhances the purity of the inhalation experience but also diminishes the risks associated with tar inhalation. Additionally, vaporization preserves the flavor and aroma of cannabis, providing a more enjoyable experience.

User Experience and Advantages with the iven Device:

Users of the iven device can expect a cleaner and smoother experience compared to a joint or bong. The absence of harsh smoke and the reduced production of tar and other irritants means a more pleasant inhalation with less risk of coughing, throat irritation, and long-term respiratory issues. For wellness-conscious cannabis users, the iven device offers a safer alternative that aligns with their wellness goals without compromising the efficacy and enjoyment of their experience.

Environmental and Social Considerations

depiction of a healthier earth with no tar production from smoking

Environmental Impact of Reducing Tar through Alternative Technologies:

The shift from traditional smoking methods to innovative technologies like the elon and iven devices has notable environmental implications. By reducing the need for combustion, these devices lower the emission of pollutants, including tar residues, into the environment. This change contributes to a reduction in air pollution and a lesser environmental footprint compared to the waste and pollutants generated by conventional cigarettes and cannabis joints. Additionally, the use of long lasting materials and efficient designs in these devices aligns with broader environmentally conscious goals.

Social Acceptance and Regulatory Perspective on Heat-Not-Burn and Vaporizer Technologies:

Socially, the move towards heat-not-burn and vaporizer technologies is increasingly accepted, particularly in wellness-conscious communities. These technologies are seen as a responsible choice for smokers concerned about their health and the well-being of those around them. From a regulatory standpoint, there is growing interest in these technologies as potentially reduced-risk products. However, regulations vary across regions, reflecting differing public health policies and attitudes towards smoking and harm reduction.


The exploration of tar in traditional smoking and the advent of alternative technologies like our elon and iven devices highlights a critical turning point in the smoking experience. Tar, a harmful byproduct of combustion, poses significant health risks to smokers, whether they use tobacco or cannabis. The heat-not-burn technology of the elon device and the dry herb vaporization technology of the iven device offer innovative solutions that significantly reduce or eliminate tar exposure. These advancements not only offer a risk reduced and more enjoyable smoking experience but also align with broader wellness goals.

As research continues to unfold the long-term benefits of these technologies, here at E1011 Labs we stand at the forefront, offering smokers a safer and more responsible way to enjoy their habits. The shift away from combustion smoking towards these advanced methods represents an important step in reducing the risks associated with smoking and improving overall public health. With continued development and adoption, heat-not-burn and vaporization technologies could redefine the future of smoking for generations to come.