Harm Reduction

Most anti-smoking propaganda would have you believe that smoking = death. The simple fact is that this is not necessarily the case. The US government has known this since 1963 when it funded a study that discovered that use of a waterpipe reduces tar by 91%! Further studies have shown that use of a vaporizer can reduce tars by 97%. Even as far back as the early 1900s, articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association have indicated that even smoking through a normal dry pipe is healthier than smoking a cigarette.

What about the smoking medium, what difference does it make? For the most part this will come down to a personal preference that you will have to reach through experimentation and experience but here is what we have learned over the years from own observations, the advise of friends, and industry experts. Probably the least popular smoking method amongst contemporary tobacco smokers is the use of the traditional mediums. These include corn cob, briar, and meerschaum. For the most part this is because of the altered taste produced by briar & corn cob as well as a general lack of exposure to meerschaum. Corn cob tobacco pipes tend to add a slightly sweet taste to your tobacco while briar pipes tend to add a woodsy taste. Meerschaum on the other hand tends to be unjustly frowned upon and categorized with these traditional smoking method even though most contemporary smokers have never tried one. The great thing about meerschaum pipes is that, like glass pipes, they are virtually inert, meaning that they add little or no taste to your tobacco. While this is a matter of personal preference, it seems that today's tobacco smokers commonly prefer an unadulterated taste, which explains the amazing boom in glass tobacco accessories since the late 90s. When you combine the inert state of glass with the virtually unlimited designs that can be made from it, it is understandable that glass quickly became the preferred smoking medium for contemporary tobacco smokers.

Additionally, choosing pipe tobacco over cigarette tobacco will decrease your exposure to the adulterants commonly used in cigarette tobacco. Just a few examples are:

  • Arsenic: Used in rat poison
  • Acetic Acid: Hair dye and developer
  • Acetone: The main ingredient in paint and finger nail polish remover
  • Ammonia: A typical household cleaner
  • Benzene: Rubber cement
  • Cadmium: Found in batteries and artists’ oil paint
  • Carbon Monoxide: Poison
  • Formaldehyde: Used to embalm dead bodies
  • Hydrazine: Used in jet and rocket fuels
  • Hydrogen Cyanide: Gas chamber poison
  • Napthalenes: Used in explosives, moth balls, and paint pigments
  • Nickel: Used in the process of electroplating
  • Phenol: Used in disinfectants and plastics
  • Polonium: Radiation dosage equal to 300 chest x-rays in one year
  • Styrene: Found in insulation material
  • Tuluene: Embalmers glue
  • Vinyl Chloride: Ingredient found in garbage bags

What does all of this mean to you? This means that if you want to smoke, there are options out there to minimize, or even almost eliminate, the harmful effects that you are reminded of every day.