Cigar Smokers Transitioning to Pipe Smoking: Three Important Tips

I am frequently amazed at the amount of cigar smokers looking to transition into pipe smoking. Granted, who can blame them?  Pipe smoking is much cheaper, offers a more relaxing experience (in my opinion), and carries an air of gentlemanly distinction. Although it could be argued that cigar smoking is a hobby, I daresay that it is more of a leisurely activity, whereas, pipe smoking and collecting is most definitely a hobby.  Therefore, I would like to provide three important tips for those cigar smokers looking to make the shift into the world of pipes and pipe tobacco in order to help you transition successfully.  Please know that pipe smoking, in its own sense, is an art, and requires years of practice and perfection.

Tip #1 – Slow Down

That’s right, slow down. As I stated earlier, pipe smoking is a relaxing, calm hobby that allows the smoker to enter a meditative state of mind. Understandably, most cigars are rolled in a manner that requires the smoker to draw rather firmly in order to keep the burn correct and cigar lit.  The opposite is true for pipe smoking.  You want to consider ‘sipping’ the smoke from the pipe, similar to how a sommelier would sip an expensive wine at a wine tasting.  Pipe smoking is a delicate task and the smoker must always be aware as to how firm and long they are drawing from the pipe.  The art of developing a steady smoking cadence is a task that many pipe smokers work on for years and varies depending on the pipe and tobacco being consumed.    

Tip #2 – Relights Are OK

When reading cigar reviews, one of the negative influencing factors of determining whether a cigar is of quality or not is how many times it needs to be relit or touched-up (how well does it burn/perform).  This is not the case for pipe smoking.  I am truly shocked, and very much curious, as to why new pipe smokers feel they must keep their pipe lit the entire time it is being smoked.  Whoever created this myth, shame on you!  In fact, this is the furthest thing from the truth.  As discussed in Tip #1, pipe smoking is a timeless activity.  Understanding this fact, converting cigar smokers need to accept the fact that you will probably need to relight your pipe a lot (and that’s OK!).  As you work to understand the balance between sipping, tamping, lighting, and enjoying, you will become better aware of how the tobacco is acting and what it takes to keep the bowl lit.  Do know that as a veteran pipe smoker, there are instances where I still have to relight my pipe more than a dozen times during a single bowl. Just because your pipe keeps going out, doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong.          

Tip #3 – Materials Matter

Similar to a contractor attempting to build a home with the correct tools, the choices you make regarding which pipe to smoke, tobacco you want to sample, lighting method chosen, and tamper selection, all contribute to whether or not you will have a successful smoking experience.  Believe it or not, there are plenty of Brick and Mortar (B&M) and online retailers that will try and sell new pipe smokers poorly crafted/designed pipes. As most people start the hobby with high hopes, unfortunately, they are easily frustrated by simple problems such as those discussed in this post.  Let me be the first to say, don’t give up so quickly.  Becoming comfortable with pipe smoking takes time (again, it’s an art), and having the correct materials can greatly help.  If looking for a quality and reliable pipe I suggest new smokers search the Mr. Brog website as their pipes are of the utmost quality.  More specifically, I urge new pipe smokers to give the Mr. Brog churchwarden pipe a try.  The longer stem and innovative design allow for a cooler smoking experience providing the consumer a full, rich, and delicious smoke.  Paired with your favorite tobacco, ignited by the Mr. Brog Ole Boy and tamped with a suitable tool, I am confident your pipe smoking journey will be off to a wonderful start. 

In closing, I hope these three tips provide some much need insight to those cigar smokers wishing to transition into pipe smoking.  I understand the frustration and fear with beginning the new endeavor of pipe smoking, however, eight years ago I made the transition and haven’t looked back since. Here’s to a great start and lots of fine smokes!