Don’t Leave Home Without It … Your Pipe

"Don’t Leave Home Without It" was a popular American Express ad campaign for several decades. They obviously didn’t want you to leave home without your American Express Card. Well, I don’t want you to leave home without your PIPE. I’ve made an interesting observation about myself and others recently. I found that I was only smoking my pipes at home although there were several opportunities to do so in the park, walking around downtown and elsewhere. In last month’s article in this column, "Pipes Are For Everyone", one of the commenters said, speaking of his girlfriend that smokes a pipe, "…like a lot of ladies she is a bit shy and will not smoke in public or talk about it around people she doesn’t know." It’s not just the ladies either. I have also spoken to several male pipe smokers that have made similar statements.

When I was logged into the Pipes Magazine Twitter account, I made some searches on pipe smoking in an attempt to find some people to follow. I found several "Tweets" from non-pipe-smokers that had made comments such as; "I saw a 20-something smoking a pipe today. That’s weird." "How odd!" There were many similar comments. The good news is that there are younger people enjoying pipe smoking. It is also good that many of them are out in public doing so. However, it does seem that there are lots of closet pipe smokers. Apparently some of us are afraid that we will get reactions similar to the comments I saw on Twitter, that pipe smoking is odd or strange.

I have decided to be a closet pipe smoker no more!

I live in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida. Being in downtown, and in a warm climate, I have the opportunity to walk just about everywhere all the time, year-round. As of a couple of months ago, my pipe is my new companion in all of my travels. I work from home and I have a daily routine. The mail comes around 11 am. I get the mail, then go to the bank, the UPS store, shopping at Publix (the local supermarket chain), get lunch, then Starbucks and back home to the condo. All the while, I have my pipe. I smoke in between stops and then just hold the pipe in my hand, or put it in my pocket at each location. The smoke usually goes out quick enough that no one gives me the evil eye for smoking in a non-smoking location.




Do some people look at me like I am an alien from outer-space? Yes. Do I care? No.

Smoking a pipe shows that you are an individual, a thinker, an intelligent, confident being that knows what he (or she) wants, where we want to be and how to get there. We do not follow the crowd; doing something, or believing something just because everyone else does. We are not part of the weak-minded flocks of sheep that make up the general populace. We are pipe smokers that can think for ourselves. We know how to enjoy and make the most of our short time on this planet. We have the confidence and self-assurance that we do not need to prove anything to anybody. We are above the fray.

Does your pipe really say all these things about you?

Yes, it does. Not all of the people I pass while smoking my pipe have a confused look on their face. Some give me looks of admiration. While window shopping downtown on a recent Sunday, my darling girlfriend decided to go into a store to try on some clothes. I stayed outside to finish my pipe. Several people passed by. Some gave me the odd looks, but many gave me looks like "that dude looks pretty cool". Not that I care either way, but the best part was when I finished and went inside the ladies clothing store. Apparently I was carrying along some "third-hand smoke". (That’s the new Anti-Smoking-Nazi term for when someone smells like they were smoking.) A middle-aged woman inside the store saw me holding my pipe and commented; "I can smell your pipe and it smells so good! What is that? Cherry blend? I love it!" (I wasn’t actually smoking "cherry blend", but if that’s what she got out of it, then fine by me.)

So, where does this leave us?

If you were extraordinarily smart, would you not use your intelligence? If you were amazingly good-looking, would you hide it? I hope not. If you love smoking a pipe and want to find other people that do, and perhaps intrigue another worthy individual into trying it, then …

Don’t Leave Home Without Your Pipe!

More Pipes and Tobaccos Articles

43 Responses

  • I was recently waiting outside a store while my wife was trying on some tops.
    The security Guard came up ad told me that I could not smoke outside the store.
    Mistake #1 he actually touched me, If I don’t know you don’t touch me.
    Mistake #2 The store owners were towelheads and so were all the staff
    I marched into the store with my pipe billowing smoke, and informed the owners what I thought of them, and there guard, etc.
    I was in a Public Place minding my own business, but no someone had to object.
    I am fed up of politicians, religious groups, do gooders etc telling me what to do.
    I think the next time someone comments on my smoking I’ll just say
    It was either have a smoke or have sex with you, and I’m not into Bestiality

  • Ha ha ha!
    While I was writing this, I forgot that there actually are some localities with laws against smoking in public.
    This article is a call to action for a rebellion against these laws, that in my opinion are unconstitutional.

  • I live just outside of LA near the heart of the dark lords of smoke nazis. Just over the Santa Susana mountains is a little hell hole of a town of big brothers called Calabasas. This is wealthy town of smoke belching factory owners that has banned all outdoor smoking. Even on ones patio or balcony. I’m am afraid the shitstorm is going to spread.

  • I use to only smoke at a home or in the car (DWSAP – driving while smoking a pipe). Only in the past couple years have I started walking out and about in the city with my pipes going. I always have one or two in my bag. While I get plenty of looks some good, some odd, the biggest surprise has been the compliments I get from the braver people.

  • I am glad to hear that Dan!
    It’s funny, since I’ve written this article and started walking around downtown with my pipe going, I have run into 3 other guys doing the same thing here in St. Pete.
    Maybe we’re starting a trend already!
    We’ve got St. Petersburg and Boston on the map!
    Bob, you’re in charge of the DC / Chesapeake Bay area, and we all my have to visit Mick in the LA area to help battle the dark lords of anti-smoking.

  • I get a lot of strange looks as I smoke at work. They call me Popeye,or Sherlock, or Ahab, but I’ve found 3 or 4 other Pipe smokers on board my ship. Who would’ve thought a Sailor would get strange looks for smoking a pipe? Virginia’s no smoking in restaurant laws just took effect, and i find myself snarling when i hear the ads saying “breath easy, Virginia”
    I just started smoking pipes a month or two ago, and I dont smoke in my car. I think I’m about to start though.

  • The sailors that don’t smoke a pipe should be the ones getting the strange looks!
    That’s funny – my girlfriend started calling Popeye when I smoke my pipe, but she means it affectionately.

  • I agree with John. I too am sick of the discrimination (that’s what it is) against smokers. Well, pipe smokers anyway. Cigarette smokers we can do without (I smoke them from time to time, so I’m speaking of myself also).
    I was also at one time worried about what others would think of my pipe smoking in public. It is a very freeing experience once you take your pipe with you in public. Make no apologies. Just do it. If someone doesn’t like it they can walk away.I personally haven’t met anyone who was against pipe smoking. Even people who hate cigarette smoke like pipe smoke. But also remember that pipes are “civilized”. Let’s try to act civilized. There is a certain degree of etiquette about pipe smoking. If we take our pipes in public and act like complete asses, people may associate pipes with jerks. I am glad to see a pipe revival though. Maybe we will all start seeing more and more people with their pipes.

  • I have no qualms about smoking where I please, so long as it’s legal and I’m not in anyone’s face about it. (I respect people’s space, but a public space is a public space nonetheless.)
    Wherever people can smoke their cigarettes, then I can smoke my pipe. And I do. Without qualms.

  • If any of you guys are ever in the LA area I will give you comfort and smoke. We will definitely fight the dark lords. There is a few good B&Ms out here where we plan our revolts.

  • I may be in the LA area early next year. Possibilities include a trade show, photo shoot or celebrity interview. None are definite yet.

  • The original Tinder Box in Santa Monica should be of interest. Now known as Ed’s Pipe Shop which was opened in the mid 30s by Ed Kolpin. He was the founder of Tinder Box. In the Summer 2007 issue of Pipes And Tobacco mag there was an article about him, and his career in Tobacco, and also his passing at age 97. This shop served was the hangout of some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Such as Bing Crosby, Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, George Burns, Pat O’Brien, James Whitmore, Ava Gardner, Yul Brynner and others. Ed’s daughter in law, Jeanette now runs the place.

  • I have also recently come out of the closet. For the first 2.5 years that I smoked, I was actually ASHAMED of smoking my pipe because there is so much anti-smoking thought out there. I recently said, “Screw it. I love this, there is no reason to be ashamed of something I love,” so I started smoking outside on walks and the response has been great! Most people will yell at me from almost a block away and catch up to me. The first time, I almost expected to be assaulted, but the person coming up to me only wanted a closer look at the pipe. “What a cool pipe!” they told me with glee. This then started a short, but pleasant conversation. Similar occurrences have happened since and it’s helped me to realize that the anti-smoking climate isn’t as violent as I thought. Now I encourage people to START smoking a pipe, especially if they’re as delighted to see me smoking one as they are, but absolutely if they are smoking a cigarette.
    So far, I have turned about 4 people on to the hobby and one person has switched from cigarettes! Score 4 for pipes!

  • I have been absent for awhile, but a frequent event in Denver is to hear, hey, you can’t smoke here………
    Since the law has passed regarding smoking within 15 feet of entrances to a business, non law-enforcement has gotten pretty brazen. Those business’ with fewer than x employees and deal in tobacco can have smoking in their business. Thankfully, I am close enough to one to go there when downtown. The other downtown tobacco shop is a pose and I do not give them my money because they do not allow smoking inside.
    When told, I cannot smoke somewhere, I am no longer capable of being PC, so I ask them for their badge. Not a cop? you get the away from me.
    I am fed up with these maggots and I miss America. Amerikka 2.0 frankly sucks.

  • In this area of the south, the coffin nail smokers are numerous. It isn’t uncommon that I occupy myself with the self indulgent pleasure of contemplation and my pipe while the wife and daughters indulge that all to womanly obsession shopping.
    Various people will side-up to me and strike up an inquisitive conversation about my pipe. I have never had a negative experience during one of these chats and they always enjoy the arouma. The men will mostly be hesitant to experience what they perceive as extroverted activity. I just advise them give it try, and that they are the one’s who are missing out on a truly wonderful experience.
    There are few pipe smokers in this area, but I know of four. We see each other during our various commutes, and always acknowledge each other as if we have know one-another all of our lives, an exclusive fraternity.

  • Thank you for this article. I’m new to pipe smoking and enjoying it very much.
    I must admit one of my thoughts when I entertained the idea of taking up pipe smoking was the reception I might get when smoking out in public.
    Look what political correctness has done to me !!
    After reading this I’m going to bravely face the world with my pipe in hand.
    If they don’t like it they can lump it!! Power to the Pipe(smokers)!!

  • I am a resident of Leesburg, VA. If you long for a place to sit back and enjoy a pipe with some good food and great beer, we have a place where you can still smoke! CHeck out the HAmburg Doner. I am out frequently with my pipe and get a mixture of reactions. Some are people surprised to see a man under 70 with a pipe, others quite pleased. I get stopped from time to time and do get compliments on how they love to see, and smell, people smoking pipes. Often I remind people of their grandfathers. I do think there has been a uptick in pipe smoking, but it is kept very quiet by those who indulge of the briar.

  • Hello All from England. I’ve just joined this magazine and I’m already enjoying the posts. Here in England you can still smoke away on the street. I’ve been smoking a pipe on the street (as well as at home) for the last 20 years and since the ban a couple of years ago or so there are more people smoking on the street than ever!
    A little story for you chaps. I once encountered a lady at a party who informed me in a rather high handed manner that she neither drank nor smoked. I replied simply, “Neither did Adolf Hitler. Remember him?!” She couldn’t think of reply.

  • Welcome to the site Kristoff!
    That was a great comeback line that you used against that lady without getting rude and offensive! I am going to start using it myself!

  • I apologize Kristoff but, I absolutely have to borrow that line. I can’t wait for the next negative comment here in California.

  • Bob and Dunedain – please use the line to good effect! I may have borrowed it from somewhere myself 🙂

  • I haven’t yet smoked in public either! I don’t know what people would think of a 25-year-old smoking a pipe…

  • You may be surprised. I think many people will dig it. I would think it was cool to see a 25 year old smoking a pipe. Much better than a cigarette.

  • The last few mornings, I have been going down to the train station. I sit reading my newspaper, and smoking my pipe. I have had nothing, but some pleasant smiles. I am not 25, I am 46. I just look 25. Ha!! Bad joke. I know.

  • I take my pipe with me to work everyday and have at least 1 pipe before clocking in for work. I do get some weird looks sometimes but i dont really care because frankly im enjoying my pipe too much to really be bothered with what others think.

  • Another great article on this fine website. I have been smoking a pipe at work for quite a while now and the vast majority of the comments have been positive. I am in Las Vegas and that does make a difference, but it should be the individual’s right to make the choice as to whether to smoke or not, not the government’s. For the non-smoker the casinos have non-smoking sections for those that have issues. In the end it should be the individual’s choice to smoke or not.

  • I smoke in my truck back and forth to work, usually while at home after everything has calmed down, and every now and again @ work when it is slow. Only complaint I get is from my wife mixed with “At least you aren’t smoking a dog turd. That pipe smells a lot better than those stinky cigars you used to smoke.”

  • I’m never without a pipe and tobacco. IF and I say IF I lay my pipes down to pick something up before walking out the door and forget my pipe I know there is always a drugstore somewhere nearby or a godforsaken cigarette outlet that sells corncobs,($5) and cheep effective tobacco. Prince Albert, Half and half, Capt Black to name a few, $3-$5. They get the job done. I get the looks too but many seem to be admirable. Maybe it’s the full white beard, bald head, and I’ll be 55 next month. At this age not too many people have the nerve to tell an older cuss about smoking it seems. I’m very young at heart but I DO play the old fart card once in a while just to demand my props. And I need also say that I am considerate of others in closer quarters and if outside in public I will make an attempt to position myself downwind of others. It doesn’t alway work though. sorry about their luck eh?

  • I am 24, pipe smoker for three years, and I am an unashamed public pipe smoker. Of course I respect peoples space, and make sure not to cloud someones lunch with plumes of OGS, but I have no problems strolling around the parklands puffing away.
    One day I had my picture taken whilst I was lighing up, probably due to the sheer novelty of a young guy smoking a pipe.

  • I keep a pouch of SWR and a cob in my car and my truck so I’m never without in public.

  • Well stated and certainly an article “for the times” in which we find ourselves.
    I do and will continue to have pipe and pouch with me almost all the time.

  • I actually got my first compliment on a pipe yesterday, that was nice — since the only other comments on my pipes, or cigarettes or snuff, or anything tobaco have been either that it was gross or would kill me or it was either her or them (I have chosen tobacco over the woman 5 times and counting, and 2 of those times it was someone I’d been with long enough she had any business saying something like that)
    Anyway easing back on topic — great article and I never leave home without mine myself. I usually carry 2 briars and a clay in fact with how long I am usually in town.

  • Always carry my AMEX card and my pipe. Usually a large noticeable pipe. It fits in well with my noticeable beard and stache. Sometimes I even wear a ten gallon stetson. So when I get the nod, or the smile, I have to wonder….is it the large pipe, the large hat, the face, or the look of contentment that causes jealousy? We all can’t win the lottery but there is no reason not to look like you just did. A pipe is classy!

  • I normally take my pipe and smoke in the car while waiting to pick up my kids from school….on school property! OMG…Haha, never have been told to put it out and haven’t gotten any strange looks either. I try to take my pipe with me whenever I think I will have some time to enjoy it. Otherwise, I leave it home. Besides, it’s sort of hard to keep track of 3 kids, a wife, and a pipe out in public.

  • “We have the confidence and self-assurance that we do not need to prove anything to anybody. We are above the fray.”
    That’s what I’m talking about! I have a special tobacco pouch I carry when I’m out, either in my hip pocket or my pack. I always keep a great smelling aromatic in it along with a pipe, a lighter and a nail for a tamper.
    After lunch at work I’m often seen sitting against my motorcycle, drinking iced tea and puffing on my pipe. Not a care in the world.