Pipes are fun, challenging, and arguably more socially acceptable than cigarettes. They also don't cause lung cancer as fast as cigarettes do, although they can cause oral cancer. Pipes are like slow-food for the smoker. Instead of the quick fix, fast-food model of cigarettes, you can sit back and enjoy a single pipe for well over an hour. Depending on technique and the type of tobacco you use, the nicotine buzz is sometimes stronger than that delivered by cigarettes. However, a pipe won't make you cough because you're not inhaling the smoke. Because it's much slower, you may also finding yourself not feeling the need to smoke as often. If you already smoke cigarettes but are curious about pipes, this article is written for you.
1.Purchase a pipe. Like a first car, don't purchase the best one you can afford. $40 will get you a good starter pipe in any store that sells proper tobacco pipes, or online. Don't buy a pipe at a head shop ("Smoke Shop"). Those are not really for tobacco. Look for a pipe made of briar (a hard dark wood) or meerschaum (a whitish stone). Most tobacco pipes are made of briar, and that is probably your best bet. Do not purchase a pipe made of metal, ceramic, or anything except briar or meerschaum. Don't purchase anything in an extra-large or extra small size. If possible, consult a knowledgeable sales person as to what a good first pipe would be.
2.Purchase some tobacco. When they hear "first pipe", sales people invariably refer you to what are known as "aromatic" tobacco blends. Here is where you must step up as a cigarette smoker, or you will never smoke your pipe. Aromatics tend to taste very weak. While they smell nice to non-smokers, you will get no appreciable nicotine from them if you already smoke. You should instead purchase an English-style blend or one of the Scandinavian tobaccos. Try Dunhill 965, Amphora, or Plumcake. Something with some kick. If your store mixes their own, even better, but you must insist on something strong. "English" is the key word. Avoid anything all-black because it will often be too sweet. Look for black and gold
3.Purchase pipe cleaners and a pipe nail. You'll use pipe cleaners every time you smoke, because otherwise tar accumulates in the stem of the pipe and tastes terrible. You may also even use one half-way through a smoke to rid the stem of any gurgling water that condenses in it. The pipe nail is useful for tamping, but mostly useful for scooping unsmoked tobacco and ashes out of the pipe.
4.Get that stuff home and pack her up. With the pipe over the tin (or some clean surface), pick up a big pinch full of tobacco. This stuff is cheap, we're not trying to save it. So pick up a pinch big enough to fill the entire bowl. Put that in the bowl and poke it down to about 1/3 the original size. Then do that again, poking harder this time. Then once more. The idea is to have a lightly packed bottom layer, a medium middle layer, and a tight top layer. Each time, fill the bowl to the top. By 3 packs, you will have a bowl 3/4 full after packing, and that's perfect.
5.Light her up. You can get one of those fancy pipe lighters but your trusty Bic will do fine. Don't use a Zippo, it will taste like fuel. To light, hold lighter sideways over the bowl, flick. Puff with your MOUTH ONLY. Do not inhale! Puff Puff puff, waste the smoke. The first smoke will taste nowhere near as good as the later smoke so just get her lit.
6.After lighting, do not puff fast. In fast, puff very slowly. Don't inhale, just hold smoke in your mouth and blow it out. Think 1-1000, 2-1000 for each puff. Otherwise you will burn your tongue and not taste anything for a week. Puff until the pipe is warm.
7.After that, you can rest and have a conversation or a drink. You will need to puff every 10 or 20 seconds or so, to consistently keep the pipe lit. If it goes out, don't worry, you can light it up again. In fact, it's one of the great features of pipes, the ability to relight without it tasting horrible.
8.Smoke it until it's gone, or save some for next time. Up to you. If you sit and smoke an entire pipe, you will get a great nicotine buzz just like you would from a few cigarettes. But you'll possibly live longer and most likely your non-smoking friends will think it's cooler. Also, you may find it much more relaxing than the quick and dirty drug-taking that cigarettes have become. Pipes can taste as good as fine cigars and be as cheap and convenient as cigarettes, if used properly.