Smoking is a cultural thing, and linked tightly with our history. The Founding Fathers smoked their pipes while signing the Declaration of Independence. Sir Walter Raleigh, one of the first colonizers of America, grew and smoked his own tobacco. Even James Bond was often seen with a pipe. No matter what you think of smokers, you must understand that smoking is a root of our culture, and our species, and that it will always be around.
So, you have decided that it is time to start smoking a pipe or cigar. Maybe you have long looked at those of us who do, and thought it would be fun to try. Maybe you are just looking for something to relax you at the end of the night. Maybe you are trying to bring back fond memories of your family. No matter what your reason, now that you are interested in smoking, you need to make sure that it is the right thing for you.
Throughout human existence, people have smoked pipes.
Why are you Smoking?
Whether your interest in smoking pipes or cigars comes from one of the reasons I mentioned above, or something else, you need to be sure that you are smoking for the right reason. Smoking to look cool is never a good reason, and it shouldn’t be yours. Smoking simply because your friends do is also not a good reason. You should smoke because you like the smell or taste, because it relaxes you, or simply because you want to. Do not smoke — or do anything really — simply because it makes you look cool, or like a bad-ass.
If you have ever smoked cigarettes, marijuana, or other substances, you probably think you know what to expect, but you will be surprised. Cigars and pipes are extremely hard to light, and they are harder still to keep lit. Additionally, you do not inhale; instead, you simply draw in the smoke, savor it, and then release it. You should also know that while the tobacco is much cheaper than cigarettes, pipes are extremely expensive, and they do need replacing. This is different from almost anything else you have tried before, so be ready.
Smoking is extremely hard to learn and master, but easy to do badly. If you want to start smoking, even if you have smoked before, you will need to be ready to face the trials. Picking out a pipe and tobacco might seem difficult, but they are probably the easiest things to do. Lighting, cleaning, maintenance, and even the timing of the puffs are essential to keeping your pipes and cigars smoking smoothly. You need to be prepared for a long and time-consuming journey before you truly are a pipe smoker.
While preparing yourself to smoke, you should also prepare yourself for the risks you face. Aside from bad breath (note: always brush your teeth soon afterwords), you risk social stigma and not being allowed in certain businesses. Additionally, there are many medical conditions you should be aware of. Though they are nowhere near as harmful as cigarettes, both pipe and cigar smoke are carcinogens. You can get oral, lip, and tongue cancers from smoking. You can also get heart disease, high blood pressure, and other circulatory or vascular problems.
Tobacco of any sort is addictive, though pipes and cigars are less so than cigarettes. Keep in mind, however, that as pipe and cigar smokers are less likely to chain-smoke, and do not inhale the smoke, their health risks are less than with cigarettes. As a precaution, you should never smoke when you have sores or cuts in your mouth, nor when you are drinking heavily.
Sleep On It
So, now that you know the risks, and have prepared yourself for the trials of pipe smoking, you are ready—right? Frankly, though you might seem ready, you should take some time to think on it. You should never plunge into something right away; everything should be approached slowly. If you have friends who smoke, ask to take a few hits of theirs, to make sure you are still interested. You should check out guides online (like this one), talk to your local shop owner, and look at pricing. Once you have rested, researched, and prepared yourself, only then are you ready to start smoking pipes or cigars.