How to Smoke a Tobacco PIpe

By Contributing Writer

The tobacco pipe is one of the oldest known continuously used artifacts known to civilized man. A calming and meditative hobby, smoking a tobacco pipe can be fun, especially once you begin to build your own collection of different pipes and tobaccos. With a little practice, you too can master and perfect the art of smoking a tobacco pipe.

How to Smoke a Tobacco PIpe

Buy yourself a pipe. There are a myriad of choices. The less expensive corncob pipes are attractive because of their price, but are not recommended. They are of low quality and dilute the flavors to the tobacco. Also, meerschaum pipes are decorative and beautiful, but are more difficult to keep burning and are recommended only for more advanced smokers. A good quality, medium-priced briar pipe is the best choice for the beginner pipe smoker. The price can range from $10 to hundreds, depending on who made the pipe and where it was purchased.

Purchase fresh tobacco. Pipe tobacco must be kept fresh at all times. A certain level of moisture must be present for the pipe tobacco to burn as evenly as it needs to in the pipe, so store the tobacco in an airtight container or bag that seals completely. Avoid overly scented tobaccos to begin. They are often times harder to light and keep burning. Also, you may not like the scent of the tobacco once you light it. It's better to try it first before making a large purchase. Also, purchase a pipe tamper.

Pack your pipe with tobacco properly. Take a pinch of tobacco between your thumb and forefinger and place it in the pipe. Without pushing it down, it should come out just above the top of the rim of your bowl. Now, with the flat end of your pipe tamper, gently pat down the tobacco, careful not to pack it in too tight. Light your lighter above the bowl and draw air into your mouth in three or four successive tugs. This will ignite the very top layer of tobacco in your bowl. Let the flame extinguish completely, then tamp down the bowl again. You have done this just to dry the top part of the tobacco in your bowl. Now, you will actually light the tobacco to smoke. Light the lighter again, and begin taking in successive tugs. Circle the flame around the bowl to ignite the entire surface evenly. Soon, a glow will appear. You have lit the tobacco.

Keep the fire burning evenly. To keep the tobacco burning, you must take pulls from the pipe regularly. Every 30 to 60 seconds, pull in a bit of smoke. If the tobacco begins burning unevenly, use the flat part of the tamper again to even out the burn ring. Smoke until the tobacco is burned through three quarters of the way. If you smoke the last quarter, the smoke will be hot and bitter.

Clean your pipe. After each smoke, dump the ashes and leftover tobacco into a fireproof receptacle. Use the pointed side of your tamper to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl for debris. Do not tap the pipe against anything to loosen the debris inside. This will damage and crack the pipe, especially if the pipe is still warm. Once a week, use pipe cleaners to clean the inside of the mouth piece and canal leading to the bowl.