I know what you’re thinking, you smoke tobacco, not various dry herbs, the thing with which bongs are most commonly associated. The truth is, that association is entirely due to them being appropriated in the middle of the twentieth century by Western culture, and not in fact what they were originally designed for. Not unlike the hookah, bongs were designed as a healthier way to enjoy tobacco, in near East cultures where health was always regarded as more important than in other places, and a place where people knew that traditional methods of smoking probably weren’t all that healthy. It was actually quite bored-thinking of these cultures, so far back, as doctors in the West commonly prescribed their patients cigarettes all the way up to the 1970s, believe it or not.

Now, there is no such thing as a 100% safe or healthy way to smoke. But, let’s talk about why the smoke is bad for you in the first place. You obviously know the symptoms of the smoke being bad for you, why does it cause the symptoms? Is it the nicotine? Absolutely not. Nicotine is extremely addictive, it can stunt the growth of children and possibly be bad for heart patients, but it is otherwise not dangerous in the amounts present in tobacco normally. You would have to cook tobacco down into a nasty, concentrated tar which is essentially an ancient, New World pesticide.

The truth is, when something burns, it’s actually just a chemical reaction, the flame being a lot of energy being released rapidly, some of which is heated to the point of being plasma. Only flame is, as smoke, some additional ash and the aforementioned plasma. Smoke itself is just ash, carcinogenic byproduct compounds and the oils released from tobacco. Really, it’s the oils that you want, they are where the flavor and the nicotine reside. However, with a bong, you will still be inhaling a little bit of smoke, which still isn’t good for you, but the water in the bong chamber acts as a natural filter, and if you put extracts or spirits in it, you can even add a unique flavor experience to your smoke.

The smoke itself will be inherently different as well, being more moisturized, less irritating and cooler. If you add ice cubes, something a lot of people do, the smoke will be cooler still, and it will probably expand in your lungs, so be gentle when using it. It is worth noting that any place that prohibits smoking doesn’t just prohibit smoking of cigars, pipes and cigarettes. It prohibits the use of a bong as well, and also actually smokeless devices as well.

If you are interested in switching to a bong, Australia has some of the best bong shops in this part of the world, or really any part of the world for that matter. Don’t just buy your next one, or your first one, from the smoke shop down the street. Shisha Glass is the best variety in bongs around!