Time and time again, women find themselves looking for vaginal beautification — and it likely has nothing to do with Instagram. However, one “miracle” remedy has doctors shocked – vaginal tobacco and vagina smoke.
Women in Senegal swear by the vaginal tobacco and vagina smoke product — sold at mere cents per sachet on Amazon — which promises to “increase sexual pleasure tenfold” or “send your man into seventh heaven.” The local women believe that the product helps shrink the genitals, increase sexual pleasure, and increase the chances of getting pregnant.
However, Dr. Abdoulaye Diop, a gynecologist, has a logical explanation for one of the benefits. Applying vaginal tobacco causes the muscles to retract, causing the shrinking sensation experienced. “This feeling is transient and misleading, because the vaginal mucosa that is attacked will eventually develop changes that are the gateway to cancer.”
Another expert, Professor Pascal Foumane, explains, “These products often create ulcers which, by scarring, shrink the vagina, make it hard and can go so far as to close it completely. It can even make the normal flow of menstruation impossible.”
Monitoring the sale of the various vaginal tobacco products has proven difficult since vendors sell it under different code names.
Adverse Effects of Vaginal Tobacco Use
The product is made from dried tobacco leaves and the roots of the tangor tree, or native plants such as kankouran mano or koundinding. Some vaginal tobacco manufacturers also add shea butter and soda.
Many of the women using the vaginal tobacco and vagina smoke products reported that they experienced burning sensations as well as severe dizziness, vomiting and even loss of consciousness.
Neyba, a Senagalese woman, shared, “I told an aunt about my difficulty getting pregnant and she recommended this product. After using it I was able to have a child. Even the doctors were surprised. I feel heartache and unbearable pain every time I apply the product. But once the effect has passed, I feel really good.”
According to Gnima Ndiaye, a reproductive health coordinator in Senegal, there were countless cases of women admitted into the local emergency rooms because they lost consciousness after using the vaginal tobacco and vagina smoke products. She recalled the case of a woman in her 30s who had stage three cancer of reproductive organs, stating it was “very rare for someone of her age. The same year, I received a 25-year-old girl who had vaginal lesions and who bled on contact with the speculum [a medical tool used for vaginal examinations]. In both cases, they said they used vaginal tobacco.”
Scientific Reports published a study which showed that women who smoked were at a higher risk of developing vaginal infections. This was linked to the changes in vaginal flora caused by tobacco use.
“These risks should be higher in women who put tobacco directly in contact with their vaginal and cervical mucosa. This area is very sensitive and attacking it with a product made of tobacco and soda is completely suicidal.”