Smoking pipe is the practice of tasting (or, more uncommonly, inhaling) the smoke produced by burning a substance, most commonly tobacco or marijuna in a pipe. It is the oldest traditional form of smoke.
A number of native american cultures have pipe-smoking traditions, which have been part of their cultures since long before the arrival of Europeans. Tobacco is often smoked, generally for ceremonial purposes, though other mixtures of sacred herbs are also common. Various types of ceremonial pipes have been smoked in ceremony to seal covenantsand treaties, most notably treaties of peace (hence the misnomer, "peace pipe"). Tobacco was introduced to Europe from the Americas in the 16th century and spread around the world rapidly. In Asia during the 19th century, opium (which previously had only been eaten) was added to tobacco and smoked in pipes. Madak (the mixture of opium and tobacco) turned out to be far more addictive than orally-ingested opium, leading to social problems in China which culminated in the First (1839–1842) and Second Opium War (1856–1860).
According to Alfred Dunhill, Africans have had a long tradition of smoking hemp in gourd pipes, asserting that by 1884 the King of the Baluka tribe of the Congo had established a “riamba” or hemp-smoking cult in place of fetish-worship. Enormous gourd pipes were used.
In the 20th century, pipe smoking has been adopted as a preferred method of inhaling a variety of psychoactive drugs, and some claim it is a more intense method of ingestion. Smokeable crack cocaine has a reputation for being more addictive than cocaine’s insufflated form. Similarly, methamphetamine has gained popularity in a crystalline form which when smoked in a pipe lets the user avoid the painful nasal irritation of snorting. When not applied to a cigarette or joint, the liquid form of PCP is typically smoked in a pipe with tobacco or cannabis.
Pipes have been fashioned from an assortment of materials including briar, clay, ceramic, corncob, glass, meerschaum, metal, gourd, stone, wood and various combinations thereof, most notably, the classic English calabash pipe.
The size of a pipe, particularly the bowl, depends largely on what is intended to be smoked in it. Large western-style tobacco pipes are used for strong-tasting, harsh tobaccos, the smoke from which is usually not inhaled. Smaller pipes such as the midwakh or kiseru are used to inhale milder tobaccos such as dokha and kizami or other substances such as cannabis and opium.
Water pipes bubble smoke through water to cool and wash the smoke. The two basic types are stationary hookahs, with one or more long flexible drawtubes, and portable bongs.
Spoon pipes (glass pipes or glass bowl pipes) have become increasingly common with the rise of cannabissmoking. Spoon pipes are normally made of borosilicate glass to withstand repeated exposure to high temperatures. They consist of a bowl for packing material into, stem for inhaling, and a carbureter (carb) for controlling suction and airflow into the pipe. These pipes utilize a two step process. First, the user inhales while lighting the smoking material and holding down the carb, allowing smoke to fill the stem. Then, the user releases the carb while inhaling to allow air to enter the stem and smoke to be pulled into the user’s mouth.
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