What is Appealing about Pipe Smoking?

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johnscs

Might Stick Around
May 23, 2009
87
91
I think it's worth pointing out that we aren't born with a desire for smoke, like we're born with a desire for food and drink. So, smoking is an acquired desire.

This means that we can differentiate between the questions, "Why did you acquire the desire at the beginning?" and "What is that desire now?"

In my case, I acquired the desire at the beginning because I admired Tokien and Lewis. That may be silly, but I'm not alone in that silliness.

As for the shape that the desire took, after awhile -- well, as for many of you, it became multi-facted:
  • I grew an affection for the pipes themselves. These little bits of functional art are compelling to accumulate.

  • I acquired a taste for certain sorts of tobacco, and I enjoy their flavors.

  • The little rituals inolved in pipe smoking, like all good rituals, give a certain organic rhythm to the mind and body that we humans tend to flourish in.

  • I do find that I relax on multiple levels when I have a pipe. This may be due in part to the ritual, in part to the breathing cadence, in part to sitting down and focusing on something simple for a block of time, and in part to the nicotine (although I don't like heavy-N, it may be that smaller amounts are influencing my relaxation more than I realize).
But although many of us have similar reasons to KEEP pipe smoking, many of us have different reasons that we STARTED pipe smoking.
Thanks for this thought-provoking post, which triggered some reflection on my own pipe smoking trajectory. It's certainly true that our motivation to smoke pipes is multi-faceted; for me, it's also true that what drew me to pipes as a beginner is a little different from what maintains my desire to keep enjoying the hobby. I can certainly attest to all of SBC's subtle points.

Before I actually smoked a pipe for the first time, I had observed a couple of pipe-smoking role models and naturally enjoyed my exposure to the pipes, the aroma of pipe smoke, and the deliberate ritual of packing, lighting, smoking, and savoring a pipe for the pure pleasure. Compared to other tobacco products, pipe tobacco was so much more appealing, and I anticipated that tasting the smoke from a pipe would be as enjoyable as smelling the smoke from someone else's pipe. As a kid and into my early teens, I often admired how well a pipe just fit a pipe smoker's temperament, personality, and style. Of the pipe smokers I knew, I couldn't think of even one that I wouldn't want to hang out with or emulate in some way.

As soon as I first tried a pipe, I realized I'd have to adjust my expectations if I was going to pursue pipe smoking and enjoy it in the way that my role models already did. I instantly loved the look and feel of a pipe in my hand, and it felt empowering (and pleasurable) to raise my pipe to my lips. I thought it would be easier to pack and light a pipe, but I realized I'd have to develop a technique and get more efficient with it (otherwise, it would end up taking me over an hour to smoke a single bowl).

Discovering the flavor and feeling of pipe smoke, though, triggered the most significant evolution of my motivation to stick with pipes. The smoke tasted really different from how I expected it to taste, and not that much like it smelled (I think many of us who try pipes in our teens experience this disappointment). At first, I wondered if I was smoking the wrong tobacco because my smoke didn't even smell like what my grandpa and friends smoked. A little experimentation with different blends acquainted me with initially subtle but gradually noticeable distinctions in taste, smoothness, and aroma. Gentle guidance from friends and tobacconists helped me detect and appreciate both the flavor and scent of pipe smoke. The variety made me curious and eager to keep trying new blends in pursuit of my all-time faves.

In addition to the deep relaxation factor and the mostly modest (but nice) N-effect of pipe smoking, I'd say that an unexpected and welcome factor that keeps me happy as a pipe guy is the social dimension. Pipe smokers are a pretty small subset of the population, and when I meet or get together with another pipe aficionado, I almost always enjoy the camaraderie and mutual encouragement.
 

BriarsAndBottles

Can't Leave
Sep 4, 2022
301
1,253
37
Hercules, California
I think it's worth pointing out that we aren't born with a desire for smoke, like we're born with a desire for food and drink. So, smoking is an acquired desire.

This means that we can differentiate between the questions, "Why did you acquire the desire at the beginning?" and "What is that desire now?"

In my case, I acquired the desire at the beginning because I admired Tokien and Lewis. That may be silly, but I'm not alone in that silliness.

As for the shape that the desire took, after awhile -- well, as for many of you, it became multi-facted:
  • I grew an affection for the pipes themselves. These little bits of functional art are compelling to accumulate.

  • I acquired a taste for certain sorts of tobacco, and I enjoy their flavors.

  • The little rituals inolved in pipe smoking, like all good rituals, give a certain organic rhythm to the mind and body that we humans tend to flourish in.

  • I do find that I relax on multiple levels when I have a pipe. This may be due in part to the ritual, in part to the breathing cadence, in part to sitting down and focusing on something simple for a block of time, and in part to the nicotine (although I don't like heavy-N, it may be that smaller amounts are influencing my relaxation more than I realize).
But although many of us have similar reasons to KEEP pipe smoking, many of us have different reasons that we STARTED pipe smoking.
Do you feel like alcohol may fit into this category? Although it’s a drink, it not something we are born craving, and something that usually has a reason for going down the road. Mind you I don’t mean drinking to fit in early on I life, but deciding to say “I want to get into wine, whiskey, beer, or etc.” Maybe sushi too lol.
 
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ADKPiper

Part of the Furniture Now
Dec 13, 2020
589
1,436
Adirondack Mountains
Stress is defined as the confusion created when the brain overrides the body's basic desire to choke the shite out of some arsehole who desperately deserves it.
Pipes (or nicotine more correctly) helps with stress. I just changed gigs. And my new one requires security clearance from the feds. When I took the job in January I pushed the start date to the 13th of this month. Which they didn't really want to do. I gave notice to my old employer for 3/13. The clearance came through yesterday. If I had started when they wanted I would have been sitting around unpaid since January. You want to feel stressed? I give you the federal Gov.
 
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monty55

Lifer
Apr 16, 2014
1,724
3,563
65
Bryan, Texas
I remember sitting in my dads lap about 60 years ago, watching him load and light a pipe. Along with the aroma, it transfixed me. He quit pipes and started cigarettes and cigars when I was about 10.

I bought my first pipe in 1982. Unfortunately, I tried to smoke aromatics. I didn't have much success due to the bite and having no idea what I was really doing. I set the pipe down and picked it up several times over the next 30 years and filled in the blanks with cigs.

I decided to pick it back up in 2013 and stumbled across this forum. I bought some medium english blends to try, and it opened up a whole new world of complex flavors that I didn't even know existed when stuck trying aromatics. Then I learned even more about pipe tobacco blends, and pipes in general.

I learned everything a pipe smoker needs to learn from this place.
I'm probably a more successful and better pipe smoker because of it.

So ya, all the things the OP listed, plus Nicotine and this forum no doubt.
 
Jul 28, 2016
7,674
37,217
Finland-Scandinavia-EU
Pipes (or nicotine more correctly) helps with stress. I just changed gigs. And my new one requires security clearance from the feds. When I took the job in January I pushed the start date to the 13th of this month. Which they didn't really want to do. I gave notice to my old employer for 3/13. The clearance came through yesterday. If I had started when they wanted I would have been sitting around unpaid since January. You want to feel stressed? I give you the federal Gov.
Is this Federal Marchal Service You are referring to??
 

mateusbrown

Might Stick Around
Apr 24, 2022
84
261
Georgia, USA

mortonbriar

Lifer
Oct 25, 2013
2,689
5,751
New Zealand
I read somewhere (I think this is the article, but not sure) that the nootropic effects of nicotine can raise one's IQ by 5-10 points, and the guy quoted in the article posited that smoking, probably pipes, had something to do with the scientific revolution in Europe. Anti-Tobacco Campaigns Feminized America - https://stanfordreview.org/anti-tobacco-campaigns-feminized-america/
Fair enough, but I wouldn't lean too hard on smoking to provide you with further scientific knowledge, or IQ points!
 
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Seeleybc1

Starting to Get Obsessed
Dec 29, 2022
162
740
Palmer AK
It’s certainly added quite a bit to my life. I agree with many posts here. I like the time to think. Forcing myself to either sit down, or go on a walk somewhere pleasant, and smoke. The activity of taking care of the pipe and tobaccos, the ritual, the smoke, the flavors, smells, the people you meet. Lots to it. To be quite honest, some of the health concerns do get me thinking occasionally, as well as the strong desire to not be addicted to nicotine for the third time in my life after I’ve been free of it for so long, haha!
I think I smoke infrequently enough that hopefully both of those concerns will stay where I want them to.
Kinda keeps it special and taps into the ritual and ceremonial part that others have mentioned. Trying to enjoy it all in moderation. I very much like that part of it all.
Since getting involved in pipes and tobacco I’ve really enjoyed the pipes themselves. Building a little collection, seeking out neat brands, finishes, etc. Thats all been darn fun too, and is probably as much or more of what interests me as the smoking itself. My wife catches me standing at my pipe rack all the time staring off into space smelling a pipe. I do love that smell.
 

JRW11b

Starting to Get Obsessed
Mar 18, 2023
149
543
I agree with many of the sentiments echoed throughout this thread. The ritual, these beautiful pieces of functional art and this incredible leaf that we put in it, steeped in history and tradition. I love everything about it. The smell, the complexity, the contemplative nature of smoking the pipe. I had been a cigar smoker for many years and now I find myself wondering what took me so long to take up smoking a pipe.