Smoking From a Water Pipe - Is It Really Bad For Your Lungs?
In the spur of modern day health-consciousness, water pipes are raging in popularity in the smoking community! Smoking from a water pipe is considered to be a healthier alternative than smoking dry herb from papers, wraps, or hand pipes. Many bud enthusiasts prefer water pipes over any other method for smoking! However, there’s still concern and question about the health risks that may come from smoking.
Is smoking from a water pipe really bad for your lungs? Cloud 9 Smoke Co has the scoop on if smoking from a water pipe is harmful to you and your body!
Water Pipes Offer Filtration and Diffusion
Think about the last time you rolled a joint of your favorite dry herb. Was the smoke harsh and dry when you hit the wrap? Probably so! Papers, wraps, and hand pipes are strictly made for the combustion and direct inhalation of dry herb, without any water in the mix.
When you smoke with papers or hand pipes, your smoke is being directly transmitted to the dome and lungs, harmful byproducts and other combusted materials included! These methods of smoking do pose more health risks to your lungs.
According to a study by Oakley Ray, Professor of Pharmacology and Psychology at the University of Wyoming, dry herb contains around 50 - 70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco smoke. After taking a drag from a hand pipe or wrap, you’re more likely to hold the smoke in to get the most out of your hit. This gives your lungs more exposure to these byproducts.
So what do we do? How do we reduce our exposure to these byproducts?
The answer is simple - use a water pipe! Since water pipes have the ability to hold water and use percolation, our smoke is able to be filtered and diffused at a minimum of 4 times before it reaches our lungs. This is done through a scientific process called aeration and filtration, which means our smoke comes into contact with air and water to reduce the amount of harmful byproducts!
An interesting study done by the Dr. Gary Huber at the University of Texas showed that water pipes were able to eliminate both acrolein and acetaldehyde, byproducts in dry herb smoke that are toxic to our lungs, completely. This is a huge step forward for water pipes!
Another study performed by the National Cancer Institute demonstrated that water filtration in water pipes were able to reduce the quantity of toxic byproducts in dry herb smoke. Another big success for water pipes!
Though these studies have shown that water pipes are a healthier alternative for smoking dry herb, there are still risks that come from smoking out of a water pipe. Any time an herb, or any other product, is combusted from a butane flame (from a lighter or small torch), we’re still exposing ourselves to harmful byproducts. Sure, the quantity of byproducts and toxins are reduced, but it doesn’t mean we’re 100% protected from them.
How Can I Make My Water Pipe Smoking Experience Healthier?
We’ve determined a huge factor that puts our lungs and bodies at risk when smoking dry herb stems from using a butane flame to combust our dry herb. To make smoking from a water pipe healthier, you can use non-flammable lighters and wicks to light your dry herb!
Using a hemp wick to light your dry herb helps to make smoking from a water pipe safe! Hemp wicks allow plants to be lit from plants. That way you’re able to keep everything in the same family. Hemp wicks reduce the amount of flint exposure and butane exposure your lungs will experience while smoking. They also keep the terpene profiles of your dry herb alive and well! Hemp wicks will burn at a lower temperature than a flame from a lighter. This helps to preserve the positive byproducts of your dry herb, so you can enjoy the benefits of dry herb at a higher concentration!
- Bee Wick is made from hemp and beeswax! These will save you money and will improve your water pipe smoking experience to a safe level.
Ice helps! The high heat that comes from smoking is very irritating to our lungs, which is why we tend to cough after a dry hit. Using ice in your water pipe gives your smoke a final chance to diffuse to a tolerable temperature. The cooler your smoke is, the less irritation your lungs and throat will experience. Ultimately, ice doesn’t keep the harmful byproducts away, but it does help to reduce inflammation and irritation in our lungs.
Add more percolation to your water pipe! Having a water pipe with more than one percolator will give your smoke more contact with water and air to diffuse and filtrate out toxic byproducts. Glass water pipes have the ability to contain more than one percolator. The more percolation, the healthier your water pipe hits will be for your lungs! Plus, your smoke will be silky smooth, and we all can’t pass that up.
- The MAV Glass UFO Straight Tube Water Pipe features two UFO percolators that will effortlessly filtrate and diffuse your smoke for healthy water pipe hits!
If your water pipe already has more than one percolator, or if you want to remain as safe as possible, you can use an ash catcher that has a percolator. Trapping any ash and giving your smoke initial contact with a percolator will significantly reduce the amount of harmful byproducts you’ll be exposed to. You also won’t have to worry about any ash clogging your percolators in your water pipe!
- The MOB Glass 8 Tree Ashcatcher is a percolator ash catcher loaded with a tree percolator with 8 arms to give your smoke the perfect amount of percolation before it makes its way inside your water pipe!
If you own a smaller water pipe or dab rig, transitioning over to concentrates gives you the ability to smoke safely from your water pipe! In fact, when you smoke dabs you’re actually not inhaling smoke. You’re inhaling vapor instead. Vapor has been proven to be less toxic to our lungs than smoke. Plus, using our favorite concentrates allows us to enjoy the maximum benefits of dry herb in a safe manner!
- The MOB Flavor Saver is Cloud 9 Smoke Co’s favorite glass dab rig!
Is Smoking From a Water Pipe Bad For Your Lungs? - The Verdict
Smoking from a water pipe is definitely healthier than other smoking methods, like smoking from wraps, papers, and hand pipes. This is due to a water pipe’s ability to diffuse and filtrate your smoke through the processes of aeration and filtration. This simply means that water pipes increase dry herb smoke’s contact with air and water to reduce the amount of harmful byproducts exposed to your lungs.
According to an academic study at the University of Wyoming, our dry herb smoke contains 50% - 70% more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco smoke. Which means smoking from papers and hand pipes gives us direct contact with these byproducts. This gives a lot of room for water pipes to shine!
A study conducted at the University of Texas showed that water pipes were able to completely eliminate the presence of acrolein and acetaldehyde, which are byproducts that are toxic to our lungs. By eliminating our exposure to these byproducts, water pipes put in the work to be a healthier smoking method for bud enthusiasts!
Though these studies gave a lot of light into the power and work water pipes put in to be a healthier smoking method, it unfortunately doesn’t mean that they're good for our lungs. In fact, the health risks that come from smoking out of a water pipe begins with the tool that we use to begin smoking entirely: the lighter.
Butane lighters, or flammable lighters, expose us to the chemicals in butane as well as potential exposure to flint. Any time dry herb, or any product, is combusted with butane, we’re inhaling not only the byproducts that come from dry herb but from the flame as well!
A healthier alternative to flammable lighters is using hemp wick to light your dry herb! Hemp wick allows us to keep everything in the same family (herb lit from herb). Hemp wicks reduce the amount of flint exposure and butane exposure your lungs will experience while smoking. They also keep the terpene profiles of your dry herb alive and well! Hemp wicks will burn at a lower temperature than a flame from a lighter. This helps to preserve the positive byproducts of your dry herb, so you can enjoy the benefits of dry herb at a higher concentration!
Ice helps! Having ice in your water pipe will give your smoke a final chance to diffuse to a cooler temperature to reduce irritation in your lungs. Hot smoke is one of the reasons why we cough after a dry hit. Reducing the amount of irritation and potential inflammation our lungs are exposed to offers a healthy water pipe smoking experience!
You can also use a water pipe with more than one percolator to ensure your smoke is going through the filtration and diffusion process multiple times! The more percolation, the smoother your smoke will be. Percolators do a great job at increasing the amount of exposure smoke has to air and water, meaning less harmful byproducts for us!
If your water pipe already has more than one percolator, and you really want to play it safe, percolator ash catchers are a huge help! Percolator ash catchers give your smoke direct contact with a percolation system before it even enters your water pipe. Not to mention, percolator ash catchers will reduce the amount of ash that comes into contact with the base of your water pipe! By reducing the amount of ash in your water pipe, your water pipe’s water will remain cleaner and your percolators will remain clean so both can function to their maximum potential!
To keep your water pipe experience in full circle, you can make the transition over to concentrates to have the healthiest water pipe smoking experience possible! When concentrates are burned, they actually produce vapor. Vapor is considered to be a healthier alternative to smoke for our lungs. Plus, concentrates allow us to enjoy the benefits of dry herb at their fullest potential!
Photo by GRAV