In defense of the pipe — 18 Comments

  1. I have liked the aroma of plug tobacco coming from a pipe. I always imagine pipe smoker as pensive people. In fiction the deductive Sherlock Holmes ponders the vital clues while puffing away.

    • It is no accident that pipe smokers are portrayed as contemplative.  I see the pipe as being relaxing whereas cigarettes are somehow nervous. 

  2. Many, many years ago my old dad, as a young man who smoked fags, went to his doc for a check up. Doc found healed TB scars on his lung (his mum died from TB). The doc suggested he give up the gaspers and take up a pipe. Much safer he said. Which he did. Smoking didn't see him off either, but stomach cancer did. He was 84.

    • Welcome, Doctor!  I don't know how many times in the past that I heard that a pipe was safer than cigarettes.  Pipes somehow seem to have vanished as a method of enjoying tobacco, which is something I just don't understand.  Nobody ever suggests the pipe as an alternative these days.  A mystery….

  3. my uncle also carried a small penknife as he used a solid plug of tobacco.

    he also wore a waistcoat, carried a pocket watch, and never left the house without a hat.

    his likes seem to be long gone may he rest in peace.

    • There's still a few of us left.  Can't admit to a waistcoat or a pocket watch but I frequently wear a hat.  Or a cap.

  4. You could now be part of an ethnic minority, with rights and everything!! Maybe there is a European support grant available?

  5. I think that what happened was that back in 1950, when the smoking health scare started, it was only relatively new-fangled cigarettes that were regarded as dangerous, not pipes or cigars. People had been smoking the latter for centuries without ill-effect. And when I went to see my GP, he (or she) would say that the real danger was cigarette-smoking. And manufactured-cigarettes, rather than the roll-ups I smoke. But sometime around 1980, the goal-posts got moved, and tobacco-smoking became the danger rather than just cigarette-smoking. So pipe-smoking is now discouraged as much as cigarette-smoking. Now, of course, just putting anything that <i>looks</i> like a cigarette or pipe in your mouth (e.g. e-cigs) is discouraged as well.

    It's all baloney, of course. Antismoking has been all baloney from the start. It's essentially a moral crusade, and always has been. All the targets of modern healthist crusades are things that have been morally condemned since time immemorial. Smoking. Drinking. Eating. It's just that these days the moralisers hide behind science and medicine. 

    As for pipe-smoking v. cigarette-smoking, I prefer the latter. I bought a pipe a few years ago, but hardly ever use it. The problem wasn't that I didn't enjoy smoking it. In fact I thought it was rather nicer than my usual roll-ups. The problem was that it kept one hand (and arm) more or less fully occupied. I can hold a cigarette between my lips, but I need my teeth as well to hold a cigarette. And I can park a cigarette on an ashtray, but not my pipe. And I can type with a cigarette between my fingers (like I am right now), but not a pipe. I think there are devices on which you can park pipes, but I haven't got one. So if I put it down anywhere, it rolled over and spilt ash everywhere.

    I came to the conclusion that pipe-smoking was a full-time job. You had to concentrate. And it was the devil to keep them alight. Pipe-smoking was for leisured people who were happy to devote themselves to their pipes. Cigarette-smoking is for busy people (like the soldiers in the trenches in WW1 or WW2) looking for a quick hit. And we're all busy these days, of course. Except for retired grandads…

    • The pipe does take slightly more effort, I grant.  It has a tendency to go out frequently so I reckon I spend more on lighters than I do on tobacco.  But then that is also an advantage – it goes out, I leave it for a while and then just light up again so I get several smokes out of one bowlful. 

      I never had any problems keeping the old thing clenched in the teeth!  As I said, I have smoked a pipe for the last forty and more years and at one stage in my career I was involved in some pretty laborious work that required both hands.  That never stopped me though.  Even now, I'm typing this with both hands, and the pipe is going strong. 

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