Here We Go Again … Ridiculous Melodramatic Absurdity Disguised as Facts

Politically Motivated Hyperbole & Uneducated Journalists Rule the Day

Kevin Godbee

Just when I thought I’d heard it all, I see a headline from one of my favorite business news organizations, Bloomberg: Smokers In U.S. Switch To Pipes, Cigars From Cigarettes. It’s Déjà Vu all over again … and again, and again, and again! The CDC and the mainstream media keep reporting on the same thing over and over again, like it’s new news, and continually drone on and on with the same mantra of half-truths and outright falsehoods like they were inscribed on two stone tablets and brought down from Mount Sinai by Moses.

Smoking cigarettes is bad for you. We get it. No argument there. (Fascist Nanny States and the Falsehoods of second-hand smoke are beyond the scope of this editorial however.) But before I go on, let me clarify that I am writing from the perspective of what some industry people would refer to as "luxury tobacco" consumption, and the inappropriate and inaccurate misdeeds of lumping it in with all other tobaccos.

Luxury Tobacco as defined by Tobacconist University is: – Tobacco products which are created by master craftsmen utilizing premium quality tobacco and intended to be enjoyed while savoring your time. Luxury tobacco is never homogenized, commoditized, or used out of habit or addiction.

Cigarettes are basically a nicotine delivery device, and all mass-produced cigarettes have myriad chemical additives. In contrast, premium handmade cigars, and real pipe tobacco that is commonly smoked in briar pipes, corn cob pipes, and meerschaum pipes do not have chemical additives, and are not primarily consumed for the purpose of delivering nicotine to the bloodstream. Rather, they are enjoyed usually during leisure time for the primary, and almost sole pleasure of experiencing the flavor of the natural product. Most cigar and pipe smokers are not receiving much nicotine at all, and they are not interested in doing so. Cigarette smokers draw the smoke into their lungs for maximum nicotine absorption. Consumers of Premium Cigars and Real Pipe Tobacco DO NOT draw the smoke into their lungs. They taste it in their mouth, and then blow it out.

The tax parity issue between RYO and pipe tobacco has been going on since 2009, and we have reported on it many times in the last two and half years, so I won’t go into details on that here. Following are some links if you need to refresh your memory or get caught up on the past and current information.

Stop the Pipe Tobacco Tax – January 23rd, 2010
Don’t Tread on Pipe Tobacco or Anything Else – March 1st, 2010
Pipe Tobacco vs. Roll-Your-Own – What’s the Definition? – August 6th, 2010
Help Fix the Biggest Threat to Pipe Tobacco – May 18th, 2011
Tumbling Down The Loophole – June 1st, 2012

The above all have to do with the tax parity issue.

Here are some regarding FDA regulation and "flavoring" –

Pipes Smokers May Be the Next Target of the FDA – October 20th, 2011
Much Ado About Flavoring: Part One – January 1st, 2012
Much Ado About Flavoring: Part Two – February 7th, 2012

Now, back to the current outlandish quotes and reporting –

First, let’s revisit the title of the Bloomberg article: "Pipes and Cigars Gain as Smokers Still Light Up". It sounds like there’s a substantial increase in people smoking pipes – real pipes that is, with real pipe tobacco. The truth is that approximately 98% of the increase in "pipe tobacco" consumption was NOT actual pipe tobacco. It was roll-your-own (RYO) cigarette tobacco mislabeled as pipe tobacco for the purpose of avoiding insanely high taxes. "Pipes" did not see a massive 482% increase as reported. A more accurate title for this article would be, "Fake Pipe Tobacco Used for Cigarettes and Cheap Machine-Made Cigars Sold at Convenience Stores and Gas Stations (which taste like crap), Are Now Being Consumed as Cigarette Substitutes Because Nicotine Addicts Can No Longer Afford Real Cigarettes Because Fascists and Nanny State Governments Are Successfully Taxing Them Out of Existence." – but that title is way too long.

The CDC report, Consumption of Cigarettes and Combustible Tobacco — United States, 2000–2011, itself is extremely flawed. Here’s a downloadable PDF for reference.

They have all the fake pipe tobacco, which is RYO cigarette tobacco, lumped in with real pipe tobacco, and they have completely false statements that the entire world takes as fact, such as:

"Smoke from pipes and cigars contains the same toxic chemicals as cigarette smoke." This is just plain FALSE.

"The evidence that the increase in cigar and pipe tobacco use is the result of offering cigarette smokers a low-priced alternative product is a particular public health concern, because the morbidity and mortality effects of other forms of combustible tobacco are similar to those of cigarettes." There are two problems with this one. 1. There is NOT an increase in pipe tobacco use. It is an increase in RYO cigarette tobacco use where the tobacco is mislabeled. 2. The general use of the word "cigar" is incorrect and misleading lumping all premium cigars into that statement. Premium cigars average $7 per cigar, and many retail for more than double that. There is no way they are being substituted for cigarettes, and they are an all natural product.

"Increasing prices has been one of the most effective ways to reduce tobacco use and prevent youth smoking initiation." "Youths" do not smoke tobacco pipes or premium cigars. They can’t afford them, they do not appeal to them, for the most part they are sold in professional retail tobacconists that will not sell to them because …. IT’S ALREADY AGAINST THE LAW! Hello!?!?!?!

I am completely flabbergasted that otherwise intelligent, rational, logical people will rally to the sensational ‘save the children!’ rhetoric trumpeted by organizations like the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. It’s bizarre that the organization even exists. Why do we need a "Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids" when it is already illegal for non-adults to purchase tobacco?

The CDC’s Terry Pechacek says, "We know that a very high proportion of youth are using this form of tobacco." Really? What is the definition of ‘youth’? Six, 7 or 8 year olds? 16 and 17 year olds? In the U.S. a person is considered legally an adult at the age of 18, but there is a huge difference in a 17-year old smoking and an 8-year old. What’s the definition of youth? What is a ‘high proportion of youth’? This report has nothing about under age smoking. However, another CDC report completely contradicts this statement and describes 12 – 17 year old youths as having a decline in all types of tobacco use, except for smokeless. You can see the text and graph here.

The current report and media coverage has zero to do with the real, small niche of actual true pipe smokers that smoke real pipe tobacco in briar, corn cob and meerschaum pipes. ZERO. I imagine that half the world, because of this over-the-top hyperbole, now pictures pipe smoking as heroin addiction gone pandemic… in the form of pipe tobacco.

It is ridiculous to the point of being absurd when compared to reality.

Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny and The Tooth Fairy are all more real than the melodramatic, completely misleading statements and quotes in the report and the media coverage of it.

Oh, and by the way, according to the report, total consumption of all smoked tobacco products combined (including cigarettes, RYO tobacco, pipe tobacco and cigars) declined by 27.5% between 2000 and 2011. So why don’t you just leave us alone and go hug a tree before global warming kills them all?


Kevin Godbee is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of Pipes Magazine. Kevin started smoking pipes and cigars in 1998 and started an online cigar magazine & community site in 2005. (The site was acquired in 2008 and no longer exists.) He launched in 2009, and in less than three years the site has become the largest trafficked pipe smoking related site, and the #1 Source for Pipes and Pipe Tobacco Information.

In the beginning of his career, Kevin worked in the hobby and specialty toy business for 16 years in sales, marketing, advertising and product development for three different manufacturers, and with his own company.

Over the last 10 years working in the online business, he has become an expert in Internet Marketing and SEO. Kevin is a Certified Master Tobacconist (CMT) through Tobacconist University, a member of Cigar Rights of America and is a "Media Member" of the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association. In his spare time he sings, plays guitar, cooks, and enjoys all the wonderful places to go and things to do in beautiful downtown St. Petersburg, Florida where he lives in his penthouse bachelor pad. Kevin has been smoking pipes and cigars for 14 years.


47 Responses

  • I agree completely, I HATE how they lump clean pipe tobacco in with the chemical laced addictive sh!t that’s in cigarettes. I enjoy my pipes, yet, I would never touch a filthy cigarette.

  • Well done Kevin. Clarification of this issue has got to be put out there. Thanks for making it happen.

  • Stuff like this makes me wonder when prohibition will come back ?
    After all, given that it is a fact that overconsumption of alcohol has nefarious effects on your health, we should curb the use, sale and distribution of alcohol in general. However, I don’t see anyone going after the increasing popularity of wines, vintage and quality scotch or bourbon.
    Comparing cigarettes to pipes and cigars, unless to highlight the drastic differences, is like comparing Boone’s Farm to a vintage bottle of Bordeaux or equating Ezra Brooks to a bottle of 25 year old vintage Middleton Irish Whisky… Absolutely and utter nonsense.
    But I guess the powers that be love their scotch, brandy and wine too much 😉

  • Kevin, this is an excellent piece in the much maligned genre of ‘The Rant.’ However, with that said, have you thought of sending this or a version of this into the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, or other major newspaper (my examples have a New York bias because this is where I live). It’s time to start disseminating true information and countering what the so-called experts and their Mouth of Sauron keeping coming out with.
    If everyone wrote a letter to the editor once a week, even if it was just to inundate them with requests to interview someone in the industry, then eventually they would have to cave in, right? Theoretically? Maybe?

  • Amen, Kevin. Thanks for the clarification. Now, if they would only print your article in the New York Times, then we’d know we live in a sane world. As it is, I know they won’t. We live in an insane world. That’s one of the reasons I smoke a pipe. Thanks for your excellent review.

  • This is so typical. I think these big liberals are just miffed there “missing out” on what they feel is more taxes they are somehow “entitled” too. Im beyond tired of these folks already. Well written article Kevin…keep’em coming!

  • Thanks for another fine contribution to a growing series of articles that expose the misinformation and negative innuendo used by The Left to erode individual freedom. Add my voice to the chorus calling for you to submit it to a publication with broad reach — although you might have to tone down its stridency a bit to receive consideration. ( 🙂 Listen to “me” talk about toning down the rhetoric! 🙂 )
    Your article is a cogent and well organized response to the factual and logical flaws perpetrated by those who would restrict our freedoms because they think they know how everybody should live.
    With a view toward keeping in the vanguard of advocacy for pipe and cigar smokers’ rights, I would encourage all subscribers to actively support’s sponsors. Please realize who butters your bread.

  • I hate these insane and cruel, de-humanizing comments made by these journalists and government officials, their grandfathers probably smoked a pipe, these folks need to be slapped upside the head.

  • Intriguing! Michael Bloomberg and his company are on the soapbox again, yet the city he governs has air that’s probably more poisonous than sitting in a small, closed closet with Mark Twain, George Burns and Sherlock Holmes all smoking full-out.
    But, hey, let’s face it, the days of journalists fully researching a subject before reporting on it are long gone. If a car dealer made similarly inaccurate claims, they’d get sued for fraud, but these folks want you to believe that it’s okay to lie to “protect the public interest”.

  • The majority of the medical community buys this crapline as well. They re-spew it to their victims (patients), then deny them life saving treatments based on the misinformation. I get to die because i am a filthy tobacco user. If I attempt to show the transplant cardiologist, or his automaton staff the printed information from the report that THEY are misquoting, i get told that i am going to be refused any care until i piss test nicotine/cotinine free. I get to be piss tested and treated like a narcotics dealer on probation by a doctor! A doctor Who makes life and death treatment decisions based on misinformation and defective science. I am now forced and required to comply with this invasion and human rights violation. This is NOT the America I fought for!!! I will comply with this in order not to be murdered by these propagandist eating “doctors” If a transplant is required, I will enloy my luxury pipes and tobaccos in secret. If a transplant is averted through ablation, i will enjoy my luxury pipes and pipe tobacco in public. Start saving up. For your medical care now, it willbe cash qnd carry…back alley…hope for the best because the stormtroopersnare going to camp you and do experiments on you because ypu cannot be a fi
    Thy tobaccouser and be that healthy. DENIAL OF CARE IS HERE

  • As usual, the minority that chants the same ole mantra’s of “You’re to stupid to know what’s best for you” and “We’re doing it for the children!” never sleep in their crusade to make everyone else conform to THEIR idealism.
    Bottom line is, it’s never been about what’s best for YOU, or about what’s best for society, or even a general health issue.
    It’s about CONTROL.
    Once they control EVERY aspect of your life, they OWN you.
    You’ve no more rights than a slave.
    And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
    (Sorry, my small “L” libertarian roots are showing…)

  • Thanks bornagainbriar for sharing on your blog. Thanks Troy for the info. I actually emailed the author and the editor asking them to either run a new piece with my input, or to run my piece. The email was sent yesterday morning (Aug 6) and as 24-hours later I do not have a response.

  • Some other media coverage was even worse and demonstrated an even greater lack of knowledge for what they were talking about. Other online coverage used photos of handmade premium cigars, including one with the Fuente God of Fire, which is a cigar that retails for $20.

  • Lol awesome Kevin. Pure awesome. I want to see you on the news. Because you just murdered Bloomberg. :clap:

  • STuff like this makes me wonder about humanity and intelligence as a general rule.

  • People; wake up and smell the tobacco. You are falling for the old divide and
    conquer routine.
    The same people tried the same thing on gun owners, luckily, the NRA was there to pull everyone together.
    We have no such orginazation. We should have.
    All tobacco users are our friends. If cigarettes go down, the chewers will go next and then the pipe smokers. All that will be left is $25 cigars.
    I am sorry if I offend you but That is what will happen. Let us all get together
    and beat these idiots.

  • Great article.
    All this and all the news items regarding tobacco use has convinced me that the CDC, the FDA and all agencies of the Federal government are a bunch of FOOLS.
    Remember, everyone, it’s all about CONTROL!
    Big Government and the Nannie State knows what’s best for you.
    My advice? Stock up! Even more difficult times are ahead!
    The idiocy of all this is that they need your money yet they want you to quit. Or do they? They use the “health issues” and “it’s for the kids” foolishness to hit you for more money.
    Go figure.

  • This argument between cigarette smoking, pipe smoking and cigar smoking really is helping these anti-tobacco people tax them out of existence. It reminds me of the argument from the 1970’s and forward in the hunting community about what is a “real” hunter. The community was split between traditional bowhunters (those who use Recurves, Longbows and Primitive bows), the modern bowhunters (those who use the Compound bows of today) and gun hunters. Because of the division of the community on this subject, the non hunting people in legislatures and special interest groups began passing legislation to inhibit and in some areas prohibit hunting. And in most areas, the taxes went up on ALL hunting equipment. Now the argument on what kind of smoker you are is splitting the Tobacco User community between Cigarette Smoker, Cigar Smoker or Pipe Smoker. These anti-tobacco people have ALL of us in their sights and the only way to defeat them is by presenting a united front. So lets quit giving them ammunition to use against us and fight ALL tobacco taxes.

  • Good article. this prooves once again the majority who are in positions of power think they know, but they dont know they dont know. Good tabacco helped grow this country from the get go. Our fore Fathers werent smoking newports and marb red 100s in the taverns as the revolution started to grow. but i can gaurentee there was alot of smoke from natural tabacco in there pipes as they sat and talked of freedom and taxation without representation, if these are the people representing us now they obviously once again have there own intrests in mind

  • I’ve always used the analogy of cheap malt liquor/beers or $5 a fifth Vodka vs good bourbons, “craft beer” wines, or rums when talking of cigarettes vs cigars/pipes. If you are buying a case of whatever “Cheap domestic lager” everyday, and sitting there and sucking them down for whatever bit of a buzz it will give you, then you are not doing the same thing as the person who sits down to a couple glasses of wine or bourbon in the evening, or has a good porter or two with his steak. Same with cigarettes. Sucking down a pack a day of Reds, and having an after supper bowl or cigar is not the same. Never will it be the same, and can not be compared to each other.
    Nobody conjures the image of one sitting down in a parlor, selecting a book from the shelf, and opening a can of Light and firing up a Red, and then takes a moment from the day to reflect and relax. And no one conjures the image of someone running outside the store for a quick smoke getting a pipe out and hot boxing it so they can get back to making groceries.
    Two different things. Two different cultures.

  • I disagree, Kevin. Cigarettes are not a nicotine delivery device, they are an adiction delivery device. The Government decided long ago to support the cigarette companies by allowing a number of dangerous and addictive chemicals into the receipe in return for campaign financing. Great Brittain, at about the same time disallowed non-natural ingredients into the manufacture of their tobacco products. The problem isn’t the tobacco, it’s the deadly politicians.

  • I appreciate many of the sentiments you express, and I do wish that journalists would be a bit more skeptical. And I don’t want to offend you, as I love many of the articles you’ve written. But — no offense — some of the stuff you’re asserting here just seems bizarre. Let me give you an example: “Luxury Tobacco as defined by Tobacconist University is: – Tobacco products which are created by master craftsmen utilizing premium quality tobacco and intended to be enjoyed while savoring your time. Luxury tobacco is never homogenized, commoditized, or used out of habit or addiction.”
    OK. Why should what an industry-driven entity defines “luxury tobacco” products as be relevant at all? I doubt any scientist, legislator, or journalist (except me) in the world even knows that it exists! I might appreciate what Tobacconist University has to say, but it’s about as fringe as fringe gets (in fact, as pipe smokers, we are all WAY out on the fringe. Even worse, the definition it gives here is flat-out false. Let me explain….
    Apparently, we are to believe that luxury tobacco is not used for addiction purposes…. Do you really believe that, or are you engaging in the same kind of disingenuous hyperbole that our opponents are engaged in? Nicotine is addictive even when absorbed by the mouth — that’s why many people dip and chew tobacco. I am addicted to nicotine. I smoke pipes both because I love the experience AND because I’m addicted to nicotine. My father, uncle, grandfather — all of them smoked pipes, and all of them were addicted to nicotine. In fact, each one of them smoked pipes for some months, cigarettes for others and chewed at other times. They were the very definition of “old school” or codger smokers, who most assuredly considered their pipes to be nicotine delivery devices. I had the good fortune of growing up in one of the few regions in the US where — even in the ’80s and ’90s — pipe smoking was common enough that we could support 4 pipe-focused B&M in a town of only 180,000 people! And I can assure you that I never heard any of them argue that they weren’t addicted to nicotine. We all agreed pipe smoking was less dangerous than cigs, true — but there’s a big difference between saying “Pipe smokers aren’t addicted to nicotine” and “Pipe smokers are getting their nicotine from a less dangerous source.”
    It wasn’t until I started looking at pipe Web sites that I learned that pipe smokers existed who didn’t consider nicotine addiction to be part of their hobby. I have no doubt that there are pipe smokers who aren’t addicted to nicotine. I’m even willing to believe that everyone on this site who claims not to be is, in fact, telling the 100 percent truth. But that doesn’t change the fact that each and every pipe smoker I have personally met (face-to-face) WAS addicted to nicotine and had zero illusions about that fact.
    The reason I’m concerned about this type of argument is that it makes us sound at best dishonest and at worst nuts. I don’t see how it advances our cause to pretend that pipe smokers ONLY smoke for the flavor. Many guys do, of course, but again my personal experience is that isn’t the norm. Pretending that the scientific community is involved in some kind of conspiracy isn’t going to help our cause, and in the end will only get us lumped in with Young Earth Creationists, those who think Global Warming was invented by Al Gore or those who think the moon landing was faked. Tobacco smoke is bad for you. If you don’t think it affects your body, I would suggest firing up a bowl of Old Joe Krantz and taking your blood pressure before and immediately after. I would also suggest smoking a pipe indoors around a child if you want to see how harmless second-hand smoke is. But whether or not tobacco smoke is dangerous is NOT what is (or should be) at issue here. What is (or should be) at issue here is the government’s belief that it has the right to legislate us out of existence.
    What we should be focusing on is arguing that the government simply has no business telling me what I can do with my body, regardless of what the consequences may or may not be. We’re all adults, and we all have the right to live our lives as we wish to. Sure, smoking might kill me. I accept that. But so might drinking a beer, drinking coffee, rock climbing, swimming, or even sitting on my rear end watching TV all day while sucking down bags of potato chips. The problem isn’t the scientific community — it’s their job to do research and tell us what they can about the world, whether we want to hear it or not (and we very, very rarely do). The problem is the assumption by our political “leaders” that they have a right to control our lives. The notion that we need protecting from ourselves is demeaning and immoral, yet it has become conventional wisdom in our society. The assault on smoking is just one more aspect of our lives that the government is trying to control, and we should resist this with every political tool at our disposal. You SHOULD be offended and appalled by the scare-mongering rhetoric and the many instances where officials have twisted facts or (far more commonly) presented them with no context. And I really appreciate your pointing out how irrational it is to lump pipe tobacco in with cigarettes or RYO products. But I really don’t see how pretending that “luxury tobacco” users “never” use tobacco out of addiction is anything but false. A single counterexample is all it takes to render the word “never” meaningless here, and I will again point out that EVERY single pipe smoker I’ve ever spoken with (outside of the Internet forums that I frequent) readily concedes that one of the reasons they smoke is to get a dose of good ol’ “Vitamin N” and if they don’t get that dose they will experience nicotine withdrawal (mild compared to cigarettes, perhaps, but still withdrawal).
    Again — I hope you take this criticism in the way it was intended (constructive). I agree with much of what you say, and I completely agree that the government needs to stop telling us how to live our lives. I just disagree with how that point is being argued here.

  • doctorthoss – Thanks for your input, and I’m glad that we mostly agree. I will concede that there are definitely pipe smokers that are in it more, if not mostly, for the nicotine. I have also observed that they are usually the old school pipe smoking camp.
    However, in my travels and personal experience, I would say that roughly 95% of the pipe smokers I encounter are not addicted to nicotine. I personally am not. I actually feel ill if I smoke a tobacco that is strong in nicotine. I am not addicted to nicotine, and I am not even addicted to the act of pipe smoking.
    I LOVE smoking a pipe. There will be times that I will smoke one to two pipes a day, every day for 2 – 3 weeks straight. That may be followed by a time where I don’t smoke a pipe, cigar, or anything for 5 days straight – maybe because I am traveling, or working on a big project with a tight deadline, or whatever.
    In past articles I have trumpeted that government should stay out of our personal lives, and that is an important point. Now I am going to go eat a big cheese burger, drink hard liquor, and smoke a pipe.

  • I hope that you enjoy your spirits and burger LOL!
    I find it interesting that our respective experiences are so very, very difficult. I’ve been smoking a pipe for more than 20 years now (my father gave me my first briar on my 19th birthday in 1990), so as you can imagine I’ve gotten to know a lot of pipe smokers in my area (Knoxville), including a lot who consider themselves to be fairly dedicated to the hobby. As I said, though, until I got on the Internet 5 or 6 years ago, I’d never even heard of someone arguing that nicotine didn’t play a role in their consumption. It was fascinating to me what I first encountered that argument, and it remains fascinating to me. As I said, I can readily believe you and other guys when they say that nicotine doesn’t play a role in their smoking — it’s just that, in my experience, it’s quite atypical.

  • Funny thing – based on your comments I guessed you were older than I. As it turns out, based on your last comment, you are 41. I’ll be turning 49 in a couple of months. On the hobby vs. habit issue – It seems, perhaps there are 2 types of pipe smokers – 1. Smoke for flavor, and 2. Smoke for nicotine. I further postulate that the flavor smokers are more apt to congregate online and at pipe shows than the nicotine smokers. That would explain why it had appeared to me that they are the only type of pipe smoker.
    I started a forum thread about it here:

  • A basic principle in pharmacology is that the mode of administration of a drug affects how it works in the body. Inhaling tobacco smoke is a much more efficient means of delivering nicotine into the body than what can be absorbed in the mouth. And this makes a difference in the addictive aspect of smoking tobacco. So given Kevin’s distinction between flavor smokers and nicotine smokers, which of the two is going to experience withdrawal effects? Most flavor smokers can go days without smoking a pipe and experience none of the headaches, cravings or other addictive effects of nicotine.

  • I’m 39 and started smoking a pipe as a teenager.
    It would seem I have a need for nicotine; I also like chewing tobacco and snuff, but gave those up years ago mostly out of fear of oral cancer – remember Ryan what’s-his-name who died at a young age in the 1980’s and was the (marred) face of the anti-tobacco campaigns of the time? It was a habit I could take or leave.
    I could also take or leave pipe smoking for a number of years as the only tobaccos I knew were aromatics; I learned some years later that I don’t like aromatics. This, combined with the fact I couldn’t smoke indoors, led me to cigarettes as a college student.
    Simultaneously being introduced to pipe tobacco I enjoyed and becoming unhappy with the way my house smelled from cigarettes (not to mention the amount it was costing to make it smell that way) caused my to return to the pipe, and I am a happy pipe-smoker.
    All of this is to say that during the past 25 years I have never been without some tobacco product or other. I believe I have a nicotine addiction (maybe not pathological like a heroin addiction would be) along the same lines of my caffeine addiction: I have a need to consume those compounds but I can function without them. They make my days more pleasant but are not, in themselves, dangerous to my health (depending on which studies one reads).
    While I think the insidiousness of cigarettes is in the other chemicals added by their manufacturers and while I prefer to smoke a pipe, I also think we should not allow ourselves to be fragmented (dare I say balkanized?) into warring groups of tobacco-users. Internecine conflicts will not help any of us.

  • I am an ex-smoker and i was totally addicted to nicotine (naturally)
    I managed to quit cigarettes and after a few months i started pipe smoking.
    I was very aware of the fact that there could be a high chance or becoming addicted again so i was very careful of any signs of craving that may show up.
    Around a year has passed and i have smoked roughly 3-4 bowls of pipe tobacco a day practically every day. While smoking these bowls i feel relaxed (one of the effects of nicotine) and as a bowl lasts me around 2 hours and i have 3-4 a day i find i am relaxed pretty much the whole day.
    I have had days where i have not smoked any tobacco and suffered no cravings or side effects of nicotine withdrawal. Does this mean i am not addicted? or does it mean my addiction is so low that the withdrawal effect going on in my body has no noticeable effects?
    The reason i ask is because people have different levels of addiction, some will go crazy if they cannot get their fix and others just wont seem to notice and will look as though they are not addicted.
    I say this because in my mind everyone must be effected in the same kind of way by a drug. Various things will effect how each person is effected be it weight or how much nicotine they take in etc.
    With that taken in to account people who smoke pipes and pipe tobacco and do not inhale smoke are taking in far less nicotine than a cigarette smoker.
    So if i were to guess i would say that everyone who takes in nicotine regularly must be addicted to some degree and because our perception of it is distorted we expect addicts to be all crazed people running around stressed out of their heads trying to get that next fix when in reality this is not always the case.

  • Kevin — thanks for the link. I’m going to check that out. And yes — I’m younger than I probably sound LOL. As I said, I grew up in what might be the last place in America where pipe smoking was common enough that, even in the early 1990s, a young man smoking a briar wasn’t considered a big deal (a little eccentric, maybe, but not much). As recently as five years ago, we had three pipe-oriented B&Ms in town with three others in the “metro” area. Now there are only two in the entire metro area. Sad.
    Doc Garr — Interesting point! I also wonder if former cigarette smokers are more likely to develop or maintain a nicotine addiction when they pick up a pipe.
    JBBAldwin — It’s certainly not my intent to start a war between those who are addicted to nicotine and those who aren’t. I took issue with some of Kevin’s assertions (or perhaps just how he worded them). As I said, I don’t feel that his particular argument is going to advance our cause, and wished for it to provoke discussion (besides, we pipe smokers are too mellow to have an intercine war). I also, of course, recognize the possibility that I could be wrong.
    SIXMP — I don’t know that it’s true that we take in less than nicotine than cigarette smokers, although the potency/speed of the delivery system may well make it seem like it. I get more nicotine out of a bowl of Old Joe Krantz than I ever did off a cigarette! You will certainly get a faster dose of nicotine from a cigarette than from a pipe. Of course, the type of tobacco we smoke could well make a large difference. I don’t think that all of us are addicted to nicotine. My disagreement was with Kevin’s seeming assertion that pipe smokers aren’t addicted to nicotine. Blanket statements made either way are probably inaccurate, and if it sounded like I was arguing that all of us are nicotine junkies then I apologize for my poor choice of wording.

  • I smoke a pipe for flavour and because of my love of pipes. I don’t care for the nicotine buzz and put my pipe down when it starts to make its presence known.

  • Well said Kevin. I recently wrote a letter to Director, Lawrence R. Deyton, MSPH, MD of the Center for Tobacco Products (FDA) concerning the issue of increased taxes on RYO tobacco harming actual pipe tobacco. I laid out some guidelines that I thought they could follow in order to avoid putting the two together. His response was timely but altogether just a regular letter saying I appreciate your input.

  • Thank you, Kevin…not only for this fine article, but for your continued dedication to the pipe and to those of us who enjoy its use. I have been a pipe smoker since purchasing my first briar in 1970. The hours of pleasant solitude this has given me over the decades cannot be properly put into words. The enjoyment I see in newbees introduced to the hobby has been an added benefit. You come to describing the pipe experience through this website and it is much appreciated.

  • think the anti-tobacco movement has infiltrated the nation’s banking establishments. This is remeniscent of the WHO’s efforts to attack small tobacco farms in Africa and Asia (see Oxman’s thread). What is going on is a global effort, now evident at the corporate and governmental levels worldwide, to attack anything associated with tobacco. All of this is related to the deleterious effects of inhaled tobacco smoke stemming from the cigarette industries. What is morally reprehensible and misguided in the extreme, in my opinion, is the linking of cigars and pipe tobacco with the consumption of cigarettes. I’m afraid this is only the beginning, and what I foresee, as improbable as it may sound now, is that tobacco will eventually be classified by governments worldwide as a drug – a narcotic, if you will -eventually to be outlawed outright. This is the end game of the anti-tobacco movement. How successful they will be has yet to be determined, but that is the route I now see laid out before us. What does this mean for us pipe smokers? I leave that for you to judge. But my thoughts are that tobacco will end up being criminalized, and, like any illegal substance, a huge underground black market will develop. The stupidity of it all is that our legal system will be overrun with violators, further draining our nation’s finite capital resources. At some point in the future the laws will be loosened or reversed much as we see today with cannabis. Human societies periodically go through such ritualistic convulsions only to self correct later, but only after much blood, capital and time have been wasted. Only when this wastage becomes too heavy to bear do societies begin to self correct. So proceedes human history. And the cycle repeats. Ad nauseum in my opinion. A just definition of the insane ways of human beings. As if we didn’t have bigger fish to fry…
    (I hope no one thinks I’m being paranoid. It’s just the way I see things right now. Control is power. Greed & corruption lies at the heart of it. I’ve basically given up on the world. I’m powerless to affect change. So why bother? Waste of Mind space. I just shrug & walk away. Bad karma breeds bad karma. They’ll sink the ship eventually, and when good people take to the streets, why I’ll probably join them and do my small part. I’ll be in the medical tent helping out, rather than at the barricades.

  • I don’t think you’re being paranoid. I just don’t think it will “correct itself.” This is the exact same policy that has been in place for most addictive substances for the past century or so. And do you know what? We’re still doing the exact same thing, despite the fact that these policies haven’t worked. The only thing they do is criminalize vast numbers of people, expand the power of government and redistribute wealth to politicians, correctional facilities, etc. And people aren’t manning the barricades about it. So long as it’s a minority that’s being targeted, the majority can just shrug their shoulders and say, “Well, they’re criminals and deserve what they get.”
    As for whether they are misguided in lumping cigars/pipes in with cigarettes…..Why not? I know for a fact that smoking a pipe is addictive in the same way that smoking cigs are, from long personal experience. And I certainly hope we don’t assume that there are no risks whatsoever associated with pipe smoking. So long as it’s in any way addictive and it isn’t COMPLETELY harmless, then we don’t have much of a leg to stand on. Bear in mind that marijuana remains illegal despite the absence of a single confirmed, documented fatality from its use (excepting car wrecks and such, of course – I’m talking strict medical damage). And we’ve happily thrown millions upon millions into jails and prisons over it.
    Again, I think you’re basically right in your analysis. The goal is to make tobacco illegal, like other addictive drugs (or, at least, those drugs that aren’t used by a majority of the policy makers).

  • Well said, Andy. I aggree. Now, let’s get back to that Comoy’s Extraordinaire #499…

  • One of the “facts of life” that the anti-tobacco people never bring up in their tirades about the “evils of smoking” is the government will feel a need to replace the lost revenue of taxes on tobacco that will be lost when tobacco is outlawed. All the people that support this nonsense are apparently not students of history, because if they were, they would see the close parallel between this idiocy of criminalizing tobacco and the criminalization of alcohol in the 1920’s. It didn’t work then and it won’t work now. In order to replace the lost revenue in tobacco taxes, other taxes will go up or the government will put a high tax on other commodities to replace the revenue. So all of the anti-tobacco people had better be ready to pay even higher taxes on other products unless they have already figured out a loophole to get around the tax (which may be the case.

  • I hate to disagree — prohibition “works” just fine, insofar as the advocates are concerned. This isn’t about revenue, this is about a moral crusade. And you are never going to be able to rationally engage someone who is crusading, much less convince them they are wrong.

  • I guess I didn’t use the correct wording when I said prohibition doesn’t work. What I was referring to is the fact that all prohibition does accomplish is create new taxes on other things and create a black market for the prohibited item. If you look at the 1920’s, there was a HUGE black market for liquor and the only things it accomplished was create wealth for the criminals and the crooked politicians and the people willing to take the risk of making, importing and selling the illegal liquor.

  • You’re right — that’s exactly what prohibition did with alcohol and it’s exactly what it does today with a whole slew of other substances. It creates crime, taxes, increased government powers and a thriving black market.
    But what if that’s exactly the point?