- The basis for this project was provided by Christine Engelbrecht in 2003 by the release of her guide “Leben ohne Nikotin – Die Kräuterzigarettenmethode” (Life without Nicotine – Quitting smoking with herbal cigarettes). Christine explained in her book, how switching from regular cigarettes to nicotine-free herbal cigarettes enables a smoker to break the cycle of cigarette addiction.
- When, after countless failed attempts, Sebastian Schewe managed to give up smoking with Christine’s method, his curiosity was aroused. He was fascinated by this innovative method that enabled him to simply forget to smoke and quit smoking without having to actively adjust the daily routine and without having to fight the urge to smoke.
- Due to his interest in innovative business models and -processes, he began searching for answers :
Why is this method not widely known yet?
Could nicotine-free cigarettes be made from normal tobacco instead of herbs?
Why isn’t there a tobacco-based nicotine-free cigarette on the market yet?
Has the tobacco-industry ever sold nicotine-free cigarettes?
Has the use of nicotine-free cigarettes within the process of smoking cessation ever been scientifically analized?
- Until December 2013, the following tasks have been carried out by Sebastian Schewe (Diploma in Business Information Systems) next to a full-time job as a tax and audit assistant for tax consultancy and audit firms.
- After having sighted countless scientific journals and documents disclosed by the tobacco-industry, it became clear that all the information available indicate that nicotine-free cigarettes represent the most effective aid within the process of smoking cessation. All scientists who have conducted research in this area and looked at the consequences of switching to nicotine-free cigarettes over a period of more than three weeks, see an enormous potential. Since, however, all surveys conducted so far only had very small numbers of test persons, scientists demand to extend the research on nicotine-free cigarettes. Despite this claim until today, no large survey has been conducted.
- Convinced of the potential of nicotine free cigarettes Sebastian Schewe decided to attempt to prove the effectiveness of nicotine-free cigarettes and thus lay the foundation for the launch of this product.
- In 2010, Sebastian Schewe approached Christine Engelbrecht with the request, to jointly develop a new edition of her guide. The aim was to revise Christine’s first book, taking into account the latest scientific findings. Mrs Engelbrecht agreed to the collaboration.
- The program “How to stop smoking with nicotine-free cigarettes” presentes multiple scientific surveys carried out by the leading experts in the field of addiction research. In order to allow scientists a critical examination of the program, all information sources are cited.
- Germany’s leading smoking cessation expert, head of the section addiction research and assistent director of the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the university clinic in Tübingen Prof. Dr. Anil Batra allowed the authors, to use his and Prof. Dr. Gerhard Buchkremer’s guide for therapists as a basis for their cessation-program.
- The beginning of a cooperation with Germany’s largest manufacturer of nicotine-free herbal tobacco, Zentauri.
- Joint development of a new herbal tobacco. The aim of this herbal-based “Test-Product” was to gain experience in dealing with issues concerning the tobacco tax law, and to get familiar with the legal framework for the planned distribution of nicotine-free tobacco-based cigarettes. The “Test-Product” allowed us to clarify various issues with the authorities in advance.
- It took almost one year until we were granted permission by the authorities to use the term ” NICOTINE-FREE” for our products.
- In order to be allowed to distribute nicotine-free cigarettes as an aid to quit smoking, it is necessary to classify the product as a medical device. For this reason we started developing a quality management system according to ISO 13485, as well as a risk management system according to ISO 14971.
- Submission of the application for the classification of nicotine-free cigarettes as a medical device.
- Launch of a herbal tobacco line under brand of “Old Farmers”.
- Release of the self-help guide “How to stop smoking with nicotine-free cigarettes” .
- After we managed to obtain tobacco seeds, that already had been used by the tobacco-industry for the production of nicotine-free tobacco-based cigarettes that were used for research purposes in the 1930s, we began growing these tobacco plants. Within the process of cultivation, we tested different techniques in order to reduce the nicotine content of the plants even further.
- Harvesting of the tobacco plants, drying, fermentation, and further processing to cigarettes.
- Submission of these cigarettes in order to determine the nicotine content. Within a laboratory analysis bilacon GmbH ascertained, that the nicotine content of our cigarettes is not detectable.
The production nicotine-free tobacco-based cigarettes is possible!
- Adjustment of the application for the declaration as a medical device. Shift of the focus from herbal cigarettes to tobacco-based nicotine-free cigarettes.
- Preparations for the presentation of our project on Indiegogo.com.
- Launch of our project on Indiegogo.com
- Release of the revised guide “How to stop smoking with nicotine-free cigarettes”. Shift of the focus from herbal cigarettes to tobacco-based nicotine-free cigarettes.