Bongs, which are often also known as water pipes, or by colloquial terms like billy and bubbler, are pipes that are used to smoke dry substances, or sometimes their liquid forms. They’re a device that has existed in some form or another for centuries. The word for bongs originally came from Thailand. The word ‘baung’ used to refer to bamboo tubes that were used for smoking.
Modern-day water pipes are much more complex devices than the simple bamboo tubes of ancient history, but they follow the same basic principles. Read on below to find out how they work.
How they work
There are many different types of bongs out there. They come in all kinds of different shapes and sizes. Some are very simple and will be not much more than a bowl and a smoking chamber whilst other are highly intricate and works of art. They all work to do basically the same thing however, which is to filter and cool down the smoke that you are inhaling. Most bongs will generally feature a small bowl which is designed to combust dried materials and a chamber to hold water which will bubble and filter smoke as it rises.
Are they better for your lungs?
Whilst water pipes provide a smoother smoking experience compared to inhaling directly from a cigarette, they are not actually any less hard on your lungs. You are still at the end of the day inhaling smoke and this can still have a negative long-term impact on your health. Whilst it will generally feel like a gentler way to smoke, it’s still bad for your health. Bongs are capable of filtering out a small amount of the things that are hazardous to our health but there is still plenty of carcinogens and bad stuff that can escape through the filter so protection is minimal. So if you’re opting to use bongs because you think they’re much safer for your health, you should know that assumption is incorrect.
So far, bong safety has been pretty low on the list of priorities when it comes to medical research. But as cannabis becomes legal in more areas, this could change.
What you should know
Smoking substances can be harmful to your lung tissue. So if you’re going to do it you should try to limit how often and how long you do it for. Bongs can help you to inhale more smoke and hold it for longer because they cool it down, but this means you may be exposed to more tar every time you inhale than you might if you were just smoking a cigarette. If you’re going to do it you should be aware of the risks and consider smoking or inhaling substances.
Should you share your water pipe?
So should you share it with others? They are often used as a communal bonding experience, passed around between friends, but is it a good idea? The answer is no. You really should try to keep your water pipe to yourself as sharing it around can transfer germs and could lead to you becoming ill.
Bongs are great for cooling smoke down and will feel much less harsh on your lungs and throat, but you should know that they carry many of the same health risks as smoking. If you’re going to use one then you should try and limit your usage as much as possible.
There are other devices, like sprays that can be used in combination with your water pipe to help prevent you from going overboard when using it.