How to Use a Bong
If you’re a smoker, chances are that by now you’ve almost definitely used, or, at the very least, seen a bong. Bongs are easily recognizable for their larger-than-average size and the massive amount of smoke they can produce in a concentrated manner, which fills up your lungs with one hit.
Bongs, also known as water pipes, first gained popularity in China during the Ming Dynasty and were brought to the United States in the 1960s, hitching a ride home with soldiers returning from the wars in Korea and Vietnam. It’s believed they were further popularized by people like Bob Snodgrass who made and sold them on tour with the Grateful Dead. Later Tommy Chong from the iconic Cheech and Chong movies further produced and branded them to an expanding pipe market.
Most modern bongs are made of glass, though some plastic and acrylic specimens are occasionally seen.
The first thing that anybody notices about bongs is their size. Sometimes big and imposing, sometimes intricately crafted, bongs can be simple and effective or intricate works of art. High end bongs are often made with beautiful colors, impressive percolator designs, and brands add their own details and decal designs to give them a personal touch.
The only issue with bongs is that large models may be too powerful for some novice smokers. If you’re just beginning as a smoker, and have never used a bong before, take it easy when you’re getting started. This will help you avoid an overwhelming amount of smoke and fits of coughing that could last minutes. In this article, we’ll look at the proper way to use a bong, and how to avoid any mishaps.
The first thing to know are the different parts of a bong. The chamber is the part of the bong that fills with smoke - the bottom of the chamber also has water to filter and cool the smoke before you inhale it. Poking into the water you’ll find the downstem and bowl - the latter of which is the part you’ll fill with flower. Some older acrylic bongs may have a carb hole similar to a pipe, most these days will have a removable bowl allowing you to draw air straight through the stem once you’re done accumulating smoke and ready to inhale When you’re using a basic bong:
- Make sure there’s water in the base, the amount of water depends on the size of the beaker of the bong but don’t fill more than 1” or so above the bottom of the stem
- Fill up the bowl with ground up flower
- Hold down the carb and put your mouth over the tube (if there’s a carb at all)
- Light the bowl and keep your mouth over the tube. Inhale slowly and gently as the chamber fills with smoke - only fill halfway or so if you’re new to smoking
- Pull on the bowl or release the carb, continuing to slowly inhale the smoke
- Hold the smoke in for a second or two, then exhale
The most difficult part about this process is avoiding inhaling too much smoke, or inhaling too fast. This is really easy to do if you’ve never tried a bong before, and it’s an issue that can put off beginners from using bongs. The trick is to take the hit very slowly and don’t get too overwhelmed. If you need to take a few breaths beforehand, that could help with the process. Also, if you feel like you’ve got enough smoke for one hit, feel free to cover the mouthpiece with your hand, take a break for a minute, and inhale the rest of the smoke when you’re ready.
Some models have advanced features like percolators, multiple chambers, and ice pinches. A percolator breaks the smoke up into smaller bubbles, meaning more of it is exposed to water, increasing cooling and filtration. Multi-chambered bongs do the same thing by filtering the smoke through water two or more times before it reaches your lungs. An ice pinch allows you to drop a few ice cubes into the bong, which will further cool and smooth out your inhale.
Bongs are some of the coolest glass pieces that you can have as a smoker. They are great to have for personal use and especially awesome in group scenarios where you can show off your collection and pass them around. Remember, take it slow and consider starting off with a smaller, more basic bong until you get the hang of things and you’ll do just fine.