The anti-smoking crowd loves to say there is no safe alternative to cigarettes … but are there better choices? Yes, there are. One of the best alternatives to cigarettes is pipe smoking. Why do I say this? Well, first of all, as you’ve probably guessed, I am a pipe smoker. I get great enjoyment from smoking my pipe. At the same time, I have heard from many former cigarette smokers that have taken up pipe smoking. Everyone of them is glad they did, and for several reasons. It’s cheaper (on a per smoke basis), healthier, and more relaxing.
There are such a wide variety of different types of pipes and tobaccos that it turns into an enjoyable hobby with frequent new experiences. There is also a camaraderie enjoyed between pipe smokers that does not exist with cigarette smokers.
If you’re going to consider trying a pipe, you’ll need to know the similarities and differences between smoking pipes and cigarettes. First, the similarities, since there aren’t many. One, you are still smoking tobacco, and two, you still have some nicotine intake. A third possibility is if your smoking habit goes along with an oral fixation, then pipes will help cover that for you too. That’s it.
For the differences, let’s start with the quality of the tobacco. If we compared them to food, cigarettes would be dog food and pipe tobacco would be a filet mignon, (or a sushi-grade tuna steak for you vegetarians). Generally speaking, most mass-produced cigarettes use the lowest quality tobacco, and have lots of nasty chemicals added to them. I’m not going to get into all the bad ingredients and tell you how bad cigarette smoking is. We already have way too many people doing that.
I think the entire anti-smoking crusade is one of the foulest, misguided trampling of our rights by the biggest control freaks using flat out lies and manipulation in the worst way that has gone much too far. Smoking is bad for you and so are 1,000 other things, blah, blah, blah. If you enjoy cigarettes and don’t want to quit, then don’t. Do what makes you happy and live your life. But if you’re the least bit curious as to what the most pleasurable tobacco enjoyment is, then please read on. This article isn’t to tell you to quit smoking cigarettes. Some pipe smokers smoke both pipes and cigarettes. However, if you have a loving spouse or some other person in your life nagging you to quit, or you just want to quit, but it is difficult, or want to try something new … then let’s learn more about pipe smoking.
There are some more differences to be aware of.
- Cigarettes are inhaled into the lungs. You do not do this with pipe tobacco. You pull it into your mouth only, and then blow it out. You can exhale through your nose which sometimes enhances the flavor with some pipe tobacco blends.
- Speaking of flavor, taste is a huge difference too. This goes back to the dog food vs. steak comparison. Pipe tobacco actually tastes good. I’ve never heard anyone tell me that cigarettes taste good.
- Cigarettes are really about getting the nicotine fix. I’m not criticizing, but we should be honest.
- Many pipe tobaccos smell wonderful to passers-by. Has anyone ever complimented you on the smell of your cigarette? Never mind, it’s a rhetorical question.
It is actually a pretty common occurrence that a pipe smoker will be complimented on what his pipe smoke smells like. (This is not always the case, but it is never the case with cigarettes.)
Getting back to the nicotine - generally speaking, most pipe tobaccos have less nicotine, and less is absorbed into your system because you are not inhaling it into your lungs. Cigarettes are designed to give you a large, quick dose of nicotine. Pipe smoking is not. However, everyone that smokes a pipe says it relaxes them. You shouldn’t really look for pipe smoking to deliver a lot of nicotine, but there are a few exceptions. A few pipe tobaccos are heavily loaded with nicotine.
Pipe smoking is not all about the nicotine. It’s about relaxing and enjoyment. Pipe smoking is about taking time for yourself, to unwind while enjoying the different sensory delights of taste and smell. Some of the other senses get some enjoyment too. You touch the tobacco when loading your pipe, which is a neat little ritual in itself. Many pipe tobaccos look quite interesting as well. There are so many different types of tobaccos and processes used that make for many different appearances. As for the ears, you may hear a little crackling when you light the pipe, but hopefully you won’t hear any gurgling.
Are you ready to try smoking a pipe? Let’s do it!
I don’t want to overwhelm you with all the options and a bunch of instructions. I just want to make it easy for you to start, then you can come back here and post in our pipe forums and get tons of advice. (Everyone is friendly and helpful and there are no dumb questions.)
Finding a pipe and some tobacco
Going to a physical store -
If there’s a real tobacconist that sells pipes near you, that is your best bet. It’s great to walk into a store and be able to hold a pipe in your hand and talk to a specialist before buying it. Check out the Pipe Store Locator. If you’re lucky enough to find a pipe & tobacco specialty retailer, ask them if they have a few different blends you can buy small samples of to see what you like. Some will even give you a bowlful to try.
If there’s not a real tobacconist nearby, you can consider going to CVS, Walmart or somewhere similar and getting a Corn Cob Pipe or a Dr. Grabow Pipe. These are easy to get, and the lowest cost pipes you can find, and they will smoke just fine for a beginner. (Anyone that says different is entitled to their opinion, but you know what they say about opinions.) While you’re at CVS or Walmart, grab some Captain Black pipe tobacco. You’ll need a soft-flame lighter, and a tamper and pipe cleaners too. The tampers and pipe cleaners may be missing from the chain stores. You need a tamper to occasionally push the tobacco down to tighten it up a bit while smoking. You can try using the handle of a small screwdriver or some other round, flat object if you have to.
Ordering Online -
Here’s a great no-brainer way to quickly and easily start enjoying smoking apipe -
We have coordinated with 4 different online retail tobacconists that have put together special Beginner Pipe Smoker Starter Sets.
These are all extremely good deals that are available for a limited time only. Experience the pleasure of pipe smoking now!
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