On Smoking Slowly and the Benefits...

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It has been 8 years since I have posted a thread about the benefits of slow smoking. I took a break to let other smokers step up and address this issue. But, I notice that a lot of new posts can easily be summed up with taking notice that smoking slow is the goal.

So, here is goes...

The Benefits of Slow Smoking

For guys who didn’t grow up around other pipe men, and watching the experienced smoker ssssllllloooooooowwwwllllyyyy sipping away at their pipes, it might take a lot of trial and error to figure out that almost every problem you might encounter from smoking a pipe would come from just smoking too fast. How fast is too fast? I’d say that you just can’t slow down enough. When you think you are going as slow as possible, slow down even more. I see guys making large billowing clouds of smoke, and if you are into smoking just for the visual effects of making clouds, then keep on, more power to you. However, here are some of the benefits to slowing down and keeping the clouds minimal.

Taste is affected by how slow you smoke. When you get a really flavorful tongue pleasing taste of tobacco, it is not coming directly from the smokes and combustion. This is cigarette mentality. What you taste is the surrounding tobacco to the combustion heating up and giving off its essential oils. This goes for aromatics, latakia blends, to Virginias. Slowing down and not allowing the full width of the bowl to cherry up, is giving the surrounding tobacco time to heat up and give off its flavor before combusting into smoke. Plus, if you are just allowing smoke to drizzle into your mouth, you are giving the flavor time on your tongue, enjoy that flavor, relish in it. Puffing harder faster doesn’t give you more flavor, just more smoke. In fact the harder and faster you draw the smoke in, the more your flavor receptors on your taste buds will get overloaded and overheated. Slow down and sense every nuance of flavor the experience provides.

Thusly, by heating surrounding tobacco to have them release their essential oils, you also speed up the cake process and breaking in of a pipe. The oils and tars are released and get pushed to the inside of the chamber. The faster you smoke, the more you increase the temperature of combustion, destroying those oils that are needed to cake the bowl. So, smoking faster does not help you break in a pipe nearly as much as just slowing down. I realized this when I started practicing for a slow smoking contest. As I limited my puffing and just allowed the smoke to drizzle into my mouth, I noticed that I had to scrape my pipes much more often than I did the years I had been smoking at a moderate (too fast) a rate.

You don’t get more nicotine from smoking faster. This is cigarette mentality also. You are only pulling in nicotine from the small blood vessels of the mouth and sinuses, unless you are inhaling. And, you may be inhaling because you are smoking too fast, not giving your blood vessels time to absorb. The pipe hobby delivers nicotine much slower than cigarettes. You have to go slow and allow the nicotine time to pass through the walls of your skin and blood vessels. Stretching a small bowl out to an hour gives you way more nicotine than a large bowl huffed in thirty minutes. No one celebrates smoking faster. This is why we have slow smoking contests. Smoking fast is just a neophyte behavior. If you want the full benefits of smoking a pipe, then stretch that experience out as long as you can. This is what makes the nicotine reaction in our bodies different and more relaxing than that of the cigarette smoker’s. We actually process way more nicotine, but only over a much longer period of time.

Your pipe will smoke better the slower you smoke. Whether a bent or straight pipe, it has the potential to gurgle if smoked too fast. Gurgle comes from condensation formed from temperature and pressure changes, like the condensation coils on your air conditioner or the copper coils on a moonshine still. I hear, so often, people suggest drying out aromatics to reduce condensation. It seems logical, but you are removing all of the flavor toppings by doing that. And, bone dry non-aromatics have just as much potential to gurgle a pipe, because the natural bi-product of combustion is H2O. Drying out a tobacco will not solve the problem. Air pressure is most affected by turbulence. This is why well-made straight pipes don’t tend to gurgle, and a well-made bent pipe can. Curving the flow, rough surfaces inside the stem, small diameter holes, and drawing too hard by puffing, increases turbulence. You can actually take a gurgler of a pipe and just slow way way way down and get way more enjoyment from that pipe in flavor, nicotine, and a gurgle-free experience.

Live slowly. The reason for the boom of the cigarettes over the pipe came, when we were persuaded that we needed to rush, rush, rush to make a living and get everything that needs to be done, done. All of our time-saving inventions were taking up all of our time. Cars go faster, microwave meals, drive thru, iPhones, computers going faster and faster to download less and less relevant crap. You get the feeling that you don’t have time to smoke a pipe. If that’s the case… then why did you want to smoke a pipe in the first place? Is it a decoration or accessory for you? For me, my pipe is a time machine. It takes me back to an age when men had time to live and enjoy living and being alive. I savor those flavors that men enjoyed back in the time of Isaac Newton, George Washington, etc… From the time I light my pipe till I have finished the bowl, time just melts away. I never feel rushed to finish a bowl. It’s not a contest to get to the bottom. I could care less if I finish a complete bowl. I smoke at my leisure. I try my best to make it stretch as long as possible. I don’t want the sensations to end. If I do have something hounding me to get finished, I just set the pipe aside. Feeling anxious or rushed does not mix well with the pipe.

I remember as a kid when I used to run up to my granddad with some daunting question, he’d tell me to hold on… he’d pull out his pipe and make me wait, wait, wait, till he packed the bowl, lit it, sat down, and eventually he’d get to my question… He taught me patience in a world wanting me to rush faster hurry up and come on. In fact, I can’t think of many things that are designed to make us slow down as much as this hobby. Sure, sure, sure, if billowing clouds of smoke are your thing, I won’t tell you that you’re wrong. If hot-boxing a pipe down in 45 minutes or less is your thing, by all means continue. But, not to brag, but I have yet to find a pipe small enough that I couldn’t make it last an hour or more. There are no rights and wrongs. I didn’t write this to make anyone feel bad about huffing huge clouds of noxious smoke. I just wanted to share some things that I noticed about the hobby. Smoke however you want; however, if you are a billowing cloud of smoke sort of guy, please don’t stand next to me. I don’t want someone to think I just bought a pipe and started smoking today. I grew up around pipe men, and they’d definitely crack a giggle at the clouds.

Slow down, give it a try…
 

HawkeyeLinus

Lifer
Oct 16, 2020
5,612
41,207
Iowa
It has been 8 years since I have posted a thread about the benefits of slow smoking. I took a break to let other smokers step up and address this issue. But, I notice that a lot of new posts can easily be summed up with taking notice that smoking slow is the goal.

So, here is goes...

The Benefits of Slow Smoking

For guys who didn’t grow up around other pipe men, and watching the experienced smoker ssssllllloooooooowwwwllllyyyy sipping away at their pipes, it might take a lot of trial and error to figure out that almost every problem you might encounter from smoking a pipe would come from just smoking too fast. How fast is too fast? I’d say that you just can’t slow down enough. When you think you are going as slow as possible, slow down even more. I see guys making large billowing clouds of smoke, and if you are into smoking just for the visual effects of making clouds, then keep on, more power to you. However, here are some of the benefits to slowing down and keeping the clouds minimal.

Taste is affected by how slow you smoke. When you get a really flavorful tongue pleasing taste of tobacco, it is not coming directly from the smokes and combustion. This is cigarette mentality. What you taste is the surrounding tobacco to the combustion heating up and giving off its essential oils. This goes for aromatics, latakia blends, to Virginias. Slowing down and not allowing the full width of the bowl to cherry up, is giving the surrounding tobacco time to heat up and give off its flavor before combusting into smoke. Plus, if you are just allowing smoke to drizzle into your mouth, you are giving the flavor time on your tongue, enjoy that flavor, relish in it. Puffing harder faster doesn’t give you more flavor, just more smoke. In fact the harder and faster you draw the smoke in, the more your flavor receptors on your taste buds will get overloaded and overheated. Slow down and sense every nuance of flavor the experience provides.

Thusly, by heating surrounding tobacco to have them release their essential oils, you also speed up the cake process and breaking in of a pipe. The oils and tars are released and get pushed to the inside of the chamber. The faster you smoke, the more you increase the temperature of combustion, destroying those oils that are needed to cake the bowl. So, smoking faster does not help you break in a pipe nearly as much as just slowing down. I realized this when I started practicing for a slow smoking contest. As I limited my puffing and just allowed the smoke to drizzle into my mouth, I noticed that I had to scrape my pipes much more often than I did the years I had been smoking at a moderate (too fast) a rate.

You don’t get more nicotine from smoking faster. This is cigarette mentality also. You are only pulling in nicotine from the small blood vessels of the mouth and sinuses, unless you are inhaling. And, you may be inhaling because you are smoking too fast, not giving your blood vessels time to absorb. The pipe hobby delivers nicotine much slower than cigarettes. You have to go slow and allow the nicotine time to pass through the walls of your skin and blood vessels. Stretching a small bowl out to an hour gives you way more nicotine than a large bowl huffed in thirty minutes. No one celebrates smoking faster. This is why we have slow smoking contests. Smoking fast is just a neophyte behavior. If you want the full benefits of smoking a pipe, then stretch that experience out as long as you can. This is what makes the nicotine reaction in our bodies different and more relaxing than that of the cigarette smoker’s. We actually process way more nicotine, but only over a much longer period of time.

Your pipe will smoke better the slower you smoke. Whether a bent or straight pipe, it has the potential to gurgle if smoked too fast. Gurgle comes from condensation formed from temperature and pressure changes, like the condensation coils on your air conditioner or the copper coils on a moonshine still. I hear, so often, people suggest drying out aromatics to reduce condensation. It seems logical, but you are removing all of the flavor toppings by doing that. And, bone dry non-aromatics have just as much potential to gurgle a pipe, because the natural bi-product of combustion is H2O. Drying out a tobacco will not solve the problem. Air pressure is most affected by turbulence. This is why well-made straight pipes don’t tend to gurgle, and a well-made bent pipe can. Curving the flow, rough surfaces inside the stem, small diameter holes, and drawing too hard by puffing, increases turbulence. You can actually take a gurgler of a pipe and just slow way way way down and get way more enjoyment from that pipe in flavor, nicotine, and a gurgle-free experience.

Live slowly. The reason for the boom of the cigarettes over the pipe came, when we were persuaded that we needed to rush, rush, rush to make a living and get everything that needs to be done, done. All of our time-saving inventions were taking up all of our time. Cars go faster, microwave meals, drive thru, iPhones, computers going faster and faster to download less and less relevant crap. You get the feeling that you don’t have time to smoke a pipe. If that’s the case… then why did you want to smoke a pipe in the first place? Is it a decoration or accessory for you? For me, my pipe is a time machine. It takes me back to an age when men had time to live and enjoy living and being alive. I savor those flavors that men enjoyed back in the time of Isaac Newton, George Washington, etc… From the time I light my pipe till I have finished the bowl, time just melts away. I never feel rushed to finish a bowl. It’s not a contest to get to the bottom. I could care less if I finish a complete bowl. I smoke at my leisure. I try my best to make it stretch as long as possible. I don’t want the sensations to end. If I do have something hounding me to get finished, I just set the pipe aside. Feeling anxious or rushed does not mix well with the pipe.

I remember as a kid when I used to run up to my granddad with some daunting question, he’d tell me to hold on… he’d pull out his pipe and make me wait, wait, wait, till he packed the bowl, lit it, sat down, and eventually he’d get to my question… He taught me patience in a world wanting me to rush faster hurry up and come on. In fact, I can’t think of many things that are designed to make us slow down as much as this hobby. Sure, sure, sure, if billowing clouds of smoke are your thing, I won’t tell you that you’re wrong. If hot-boxing a pipe down in 45 minutes or less is your thing, by all means continue. But, not to brag, but I have yet to find a pipe small enough that I couldn’t make it last an hour or more. There are no rights and wrongs. I didn’t write this to make anyone feel bad about huffing huge clouds of noxious smoke. I just wanted to share some things that I noticed about the hobby. Smoke however you want; however, if you are a billowing cloud of smoke sort of guy, please don’t stand next to me. I don’t want someone to think I just bought a pipe and started smoking today. I grew up around pipe men, and they’d definitely crack a giggle at the clouds.

Slow down, give it a try…
I've learned and am learning, but as to the above the kids would say, "Word!" (and, lol, that may not even be the expression anymore, haha. If it's something else, don't tell me!).
 

Yadkin1765

Starting to Get Obsessed
Nov 28, 2022
120
477
Maine
It's surprising how long a light slow smolder will make the bowl last and how much the flavor increases. It still never ceases to amaze me to find after having had a pleasant smoke for three quarters of an hour that the bowl has plenty more to give. Naught but benefits to going it slow, not least among them burning less leaf and deriving more pleasure.
 
I think that everyone has gotten in a bit of an unconscious hurry from time to time. Sometimes, even while clenching, I will be doing some task or have someone start asking me something that causes stress, and I may increase my cadence, but then I just try to catch myself and correct it. No one is a perfect slow smoker all of the time, especially if we always have a pipe in clench.
 

sjohnston0311

Starting to Get Obsessed
Jan 11, 2023
148
2,097
Massachusetts, USA
Still working on learning to smoke slowly myself. I've been trying to smoke a lot more straight virginias in order to condition myself to go slow, and I'm beginning to notice a lot more flavor when I deliberately go as slow as possible.

One piece of advice - that I learned from this forum - is to smoke thinner walled pipes. Since the thinner walls provide less insulation and heat up much faster, it will train you to smoke very slow in order to keep the pipe from becoming uncomfortable to hold.
 
One piece of advice - that I learned from this forum - is to smoke thinner walled pipes. Since the thinner walls provide less insulation and heat up much faster, it will train you to smoke very slow in order to keep the pipe from becoming uncomfortable to hold.
People used to think I was crazy for suggesting that newbies start off with a clay pipe for that reason. If you can smoke a clay to where you can keep it cool, you've become an expert, IMO. But, if you watch the WAYS thread, smoking clay pipes seem to make some people crazy, ha ha.
 
Oct 3, 2021
1,116
5,183
Southeastern PA
Thanks for the reminder. I definitely notice a pleasant difference when I take my time and go slow, unfortunately, it's like telling Ricky Bobby to go slow. I find myself freight training more times than not. Most of the times when I smoke, I'm in the middle of doing something other than sitting back and relaxing. I simply just need to pay more attention to it.
 

PipeWI

Starting to Get Obsessed
Jan 30, 2023
245
2,328
Somerset WI
Thanks for the reminder. I definitely notice a pleasant difference when I take my time and go slow, unfortunately, it's like telling Ricky Bobby to go slow. I find myself freight training more times than not. Most of the times when I smoke, I'm in the middle of doing something other than sitting back and relaxing. I simply just need to pay more attention to it.

I guess it would be something to be in a group of pipe smokers just to see how everyone smokes. If they can remember to just smoke and don't talk. Maybe after the smoke, few pints and some talking.
Well, talking is definitely not conducive to a long, slow smoke -- at least, not for me. It keeps going out!