Pipe smoking is the practice of tasting / inhaling the smoke make by burning a substance (like tobacco) , inside a pipe. Though more recently smoking in general, even pipe smoking has fallen under the gun of being a questionable practice, it has been and continues to be a popular practice. Pipe smoking has been a common practice of many prominent individuals for centuries. It was and is considered to be distinguished, has a social element to it, lays the foundation for common ground in communication and socialization, has given comfort and medical benefits, and has given a great contribution to the economy of a society.
History and Culture
Culture has played an important role in pipe smoking. In most societies throughout history, smoking of many types including pipe smoking were not only encouraged but also those who did not smoke were the oddballs. In the past, elite men had smoking rooms in their homes and after dinner the men retired to the smoking room to socialize and have drinks while the women had coffee in another room. Jackets were designed specifically for smoking and were considered quite fashionable. A good host had extra pipes and tobacco or other substances to offer their guests. In the 20th century, as the media grew, advertisement was in abundance in terms of smoking pipes as well as cigarettes. Pipe smoking was embedded into ceremony and even looked upon as healthy in the respect the act of smoking was relaxing. Today, though the pipe is used for other substances, tobacco is still the most commonly used in a pipe for the obvious benefits.
Reasons for Smoking a Pipe
There are many reasons why individuals smoke pipes. In the case of Native Americans, smoking a pipe was a social or ceremonial tradition. It carried a symbolism of social interaction and purpose. For example, the peace pipe was used during peace talks between tribes and Europeans and Native Americans. Pipe smoking was also used for medicinal purposes and relaxation. Substances used in the pipes had a barring on the purpose of the pipe. For example, various herbs were used for medicinal purposes and relaxation.
The years between the American Indians and our societies today have not changed much in terms of the purposes for pipe usage. We still today use them for socialization, medicinal, and relaxation purposes. Smoking a pipe gives the hands an activity and the mind a boost. Again the purpose is determined by the substance used in the pipe. Tobacco in a pipe is enjoyed for the relaxation of it and the socialization of it. Cannabis is used for the relaxation of the high and for medicinal purposes to ease pain and nausea. Those individuals taking chemotherapy or those individuals with nerve damage causing pain, such as neuropathy or fibromyalgia use cannabis for relief. Other substances such as opium were used for some of the same purposes.
Benefits of Smoking a Pipe
First let me say that Pipe smoking is not a healthy hobby, however it does have some benefits. Currently, any smoker will tell you that smoking is frowned upon. If you just pay attention to the media, you will see many reasons why you should not smoke anything. The fat, red meat and salt you eat in your diet everyday is much more likely to harm you than smoking 3 or 4 pipe bowls of tobacco a day. Alcohol was once considered an unhealthy habit, however the experts have more recently found that alcohol in moderation may protect against the development of certain types of heart disease. In the future, tobacco used in moderation, may be clinically found to be a health benefit. Which is more risky to your health, a couple of snack cakes or lighting up a pipe or that pill you are about to take to relax. Not all smoking is the same. Some forms of smoking are more detrimental to your health then others and excessive smoking, like anything in excess, is detrimental to your health. As with most things you do or take into your body, there are some positive affects of smoking that are not always considered.
Many of the positive affects of smoking, especially pipe smoking are not at the forefront of the smoking propaganda. Pipe smoking is very different form cigarette smoking. Even smoking a cigarette in moderation can have some of the same positive affects as pipe smoking with minimal health risks. But as I said, “pipe smoking is very different. When an individual smokes a pipe, with tobacco, many don’t inhale the smoke all the time and they do not inhale as deeply as they do smoking a cigarette. They still get the same benefits from the smoke but not the lung damage. Most pipe smokers take a few puffs and the pipe is out and set aside. There are those who smoke to excess, just as there is with anything else but the general run of people do not continually smoke the pipe. It is treated more like a break to relax
The psychological aspects themselves and the psychological affect on our biological systems can be profound. Smoking in general has a positive psychological affect on the smoker. However, pipe smoking is less harmful to the health for the reasons I stated.
There are many psychological and biological benefits of smoking a pipe. Relaxation is a huge benefit when speaking of pipe smoking. There are some researchers who have found that smoking reduces stress by stimulating the brain and affecting brain chemicals such as dopamine. Throughout history, pipe smoking has been affiliated with relaxation. For example, an after dinner smoke for the men, stressful situations are relaxed by a puff on the pipe, ceremonial smoking and social smoking. Relaxation is necessary and beneficial to our biological systems
People spend billions of dollars a year on drugs and apparatuses to help them relax. What side affects to our health do you suppose those relaxing drugs have? There is an abundance of medical information indicating that stress lowers our immune system leaving us open for diseases and illnesses. Medical documentation has also indicated that relaxation can ease pain because when you are tense, the pain that you encounter is usually a lot worse.
Then there is the simple pleasure of smoking a pipe that has the most profound psychological affect. These benefits have been described by such people as Mark Twain, and Albert Einstein as an enjoyable and pleasurable hobby. Albert Einstein himself claimed that he felt pipe smoking helped him achieve better mental clarity when he was working on a difficult project. Others have said pipe smoking contributes to a calm and objective judgment. It has been said by many famous pipe smokers that smoking a pipe helps them concentrate and focus.
When the media refers to the biological aspects of smoking they lean towards the negative side. However, as you can see, smoking has a positive psychological and biological affect on the smoker. It is suggested in much literature such as pPipesmagazine, that tobacco does not stop pain but eases pain, and in addition, it affects mood by affecting chemical balance in the brain. Archeologists throughout the north, central and south of America claim that many of the tribes they encountered regularly used tobacco to treat a wide variety of medical problems. There may not be a lot of medical evidence to substantiate the claim that pipe smoking is relaxing but any pipe smoker will attest to the fact it relaxes them.
There are also economical benefits to pipe smoking. The pipe smoking industry creates job and promotes business and thereby stimulates the economy. This is a serious issue in our society today. The industry also produces revenue for our local, federal, and state governments through taxes.
Health Effects of Smoking a Pipe
There are many negative health effects from pipe smoking that should also be considered. Pipe smokers have higher rates of lung and other cancers, as well as bone and tooth loss. Additionally there are higher risk of heart disease and pulmonary disease for people that smoke pipes. Smoking pipes should be done at your own risk and done in moderation, we cant stress this enough.
How to Smoke a Pipe
There are many types of pipes available currently. There are briar wood pipes, clay pipes, calabash pipes (made of gourds), corncob pipes, and hookah pipes or water pipes to name just a few. Part of the pleasure of smoking is the apparatus which you are smoking from. Just as you want an attractive glass to drink your beverage from, you also want an appealing pipe. Since you are not sure if you will like smoking a pipe it is recommended that you go with a good pipe but not too expensive, such as briar wood pipes. They will give you the best flavor and still keep the expense to a minimum. If the pipe is too cheap you may find the tobacco will not taste as good as it should. The condition of the pipe may also affect the taste of the tobacco.
Be sure you have a pipe that is in good condition and broken in. To break a pipe in choose a tobacco. There are many types and flavors of tobacco available. Fill the bowl halfway with tobacco and pack it down with your fingers, but not too tight. Hold a lit match or lighter over the bowl and draw air in through the mouth piece until the tobacco lights. Pack the tobacco down again and relight it. Do not overheat the bowl by smoking too quickly. Once you have smoked the tobacco let the pipe cool. Cover the top of the bowl with your thumb and shake it to coat the entire inside of the bowl with the ash. Let the pipe rest for 24 hours. Smoke the half bowls several times and repeat the process before filling it three fourths the way full. The more years you smoke the pipe the more broken in it will be to give you a smooth, cool smoke. Avoid poorly aligned parts on the pipe, holes or pits in the pipe, and heavier pipes.
In Conclusion Should You Or Should You Not
If you were given the choice of; should you smoke a pipe or should you feel criminal about smoking a pipe? Smoking is still legal, so no matter what some might think you are not breaking the law, at least tobacco, and in some state cannabis for medicinal purposes is not illegal either. Since we know scientifically that smoking affects dopamine and lifts your spirits, would you rather smoke a pipe or would you rather take a pill (which you probably have no idea what the long term affects will be). Research has shown that more people would rather smoke a pipe and enjoy not only the affect it has on them biologically and psychologically but take pleasure in the action of smoking it.
Individuals who suffer from disease or pain that can be helped with cannabis are making the choice of smoking a pipe or taking many drugs that may or may not help control the pain and nausea. In the states that cannabis is legal and also the places where cannabis is not legal, many people have turned to using cannabis smoked in a pipe to ease pain and nausea because it works with the least amount of side affects. Many drugs, especially anti-nausea medicine used for Chemotherapy, do not work well enough and have many side affects. Appetite is lost causing the individual to be increasingly ill in other ways.
Most activities you do and substances you take in life have some negative affect on your health. The best we can hope for is keeping a balance because like they say, “Everything in moderation”. So why not enjoy what life has to offer, including pipe smoking?