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Are Incense Sticks Safe?

Incense sticks provide you with a blissful feeling of spirituality and purity. But are they safe?

Are Incense Sticks Safe?

Incense sticks can pose serious health risks


  1. Incense sticks can pose serious health risks
  2. Incense smoke is just as harmful as cigarette smoke
  3. They get the pleasant aroma from plants and essential oils

A pleasant fragrance and an aura of spirituality, incense sticks provide you with an absolute blissful feeling. It is linked with spirituality, healing and purifying the atmosphere. But did you know, incense sticks can pose serious health risks. Research associates incense sticks with respiratory, cardiovascular disorders, headaches and even cancer in some cases. Surprised, aren't you? But what we will share now is worse; a research conducted in 2013 showed that incense smoke is just as harmful as cigarette smoke!

Also read: These Essential Oils Are Your Key To A Healthy And Glowing Skin

Researchers at the University of North Carolina took 2 types of incense sticks, commonly used in 96% of the households in UAE every week. For a period of three hours, they burnt incense in a chamber similar to a living room. They noticed the particulate concentrations and gases in the room like carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides levels in the room. They kept human lung cells in the room for 24 hours till the particles settled and affected the cells. They discovered that lung cells reacted to incense smoke just like they react to cigarette smoke.

Not only this, another study conducted in 2008 showed that burning incense sticks increase risk of respiratory cancers.

essential oil diffuser

Photo Credit: iStock

The pleasant aroma...

Incense sticks are usually perceived as a natural aromatherapy technique due to its pleasant fragrance. Incense gets that aroma from plants and essential oils. These are safe but only till burning is not involved.

The link with asthma...

Incense and candles give you a pleasant aura. However, it may not be quite pleasant for asthmatic people. If there is a child in your home affected with asthma, or you have it yourself, you must avoid candles and incense. Studies show that people show worse asthmatic symptoms when candles and incense sticks are used too often around them.

Also read: Which Essential Oil Resonates Well With Your Zodiac Sign

Are there alternatives?

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Irrespective of the form it is available in, incense sticks are packed with a soothing and pleasant aroma. That fragrance is attributed to essential oils which are not harmful till they are diffused in the form of smoke. So, for safer access to that aroma, you can use an essential oil diffuser which spreads the scent in the form of mist. Also, ensure better ventilation in your home or office where you burn the sticks so the smoke is not locked 


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