Secret Behind The Antique Tobacco Pipe. Is It Really Safe?

Tobacco Pipe | Health Hazard of Smoking Pipes - DoctorOnCall

Have you ever heard of tobacco pipes? The smoking pipe was a popular habit in the 1960s. It is usually used during celebrations and special occasions. Today, tobacco pipes regain their popularity because of their aesthetic value and the number of tobacco pipe stores is increasing due to the growing demand. Those who smoke tobacco pipes are usually the older group but in this modern era, it’s no surprise that youngsters have adapted the trend of smoking tobacco through pipes also. So the question is, are tobacco pipes safer than smoking cigarettes? What is the difference between a pipe and a cigarette?

Tobacco Pipe Content

Like modern cigarettes, pipes also use tobacco leaves. The tobacco leaves are dried through a slow-burning process over several days or weeks to obtain tobacco leaves with high nicotine levels. The tobacco leaves then added with flavors that make the smoke more fragrant. Flavors such as whiskey and cognac are sprayed on the tobacco leaves and the flavor will remain fresh.

The Difference Between Tobacco Pipe And Cigarettes

Since pipes also contain tobacco, it also has the same effects as cigarette smoking. Like cigarettes, pipes also contain harmful chemicals, especially carcinogens, which cause cancer. Before we go any further, let's take a look at the differences between these two cigarettes.


Tobacco Pipe

Frequency of use

About 17 cigarettes per day

Once or 2 times a day

How to use

Smoke is inhaled until reaching the lungs before exhaling

Lingers up to the mouth only and then exhaled

Tobacco Leaf Content

12.5 grams per box

3 grams each


Contains tar, carbon monoxide, and also arsenic

Same as cigarettes


Cheaper and readily available

More expensive than regular cigarettes

Due to its relatively expensive price and its own aesthetic value, tobacco pipes are rarely used. Most pipes users are those who are older and have a better financial status. But is it better than regular cigarettes? Let's look at the reasons for its uses and unravel the truth. 

  • Not used as frequent as smoking cigarettes

It may be true that tobacco pipe users do not use it as often as cigarette users and the obvious difference between the two is their frequency of use. According to data from the CDC (Center for disease control and prevention) in 2016, a smoker will consume 17 cigarettes a day.

On average, tobacco pipe users will smoke once or twice a day. However,if it’s not used regularly then is it not dangerous? 

  • There is only a little amount of tobacco in pipes

Compared to the tobacco in cigarettes, a box of cigarettes contains 12.5 grams of tobacco, which is higher than in a tobacco pipe. Pipes contain only 3 grams of tobacco. But 3 grams of tobacco contains 150 milligrams of nicotine and this amount of nicotine alone is enough to be absorbed into the bloodstream and cause harmful effects to your body. Take this quiz to know if you are dependent on nicotine!

  • Different ways of smoking

Cigarette users will inhale the cigarette smoke until it reaches the lungs to enjoy the effects of nicotine. For pipe users, smoke is usually held in the oral cavity and then exhaled. However, the nicotine can be absorbed into the bloodstream through the oral cavity and lead to harmful effects. 

Studies show that tobacco pipe users have a higher risk of developing oral cancer than smokers even though their consumption rate is lower. 

Are tobacco pipes safer than cigarettes?

Are tobacco pipes safer? Not at all. Tobacco pipes contain the same chemicals as cigarettes. Tobacco pipes also contain 7000 harmful chemicals including carcinogenic.

Although cigarettes are used more frequently and contain nicotine higher than tobacco pipe. The effects of toxic substances from both remain equally harmful. 

Due to their aesthetic value, pipes are also sold at high prices. This is due to the process of designing pipe itself and the production of tobacco leaves is more complicated causing it to be expensive. So the use of tobacco pipes is also a waste of money. 

Among the significant differences that can be seen is that smoking cigarettes are much cheaper and more readily available in the market compared to expensive tobacco pipes in the market due to the type of wood used to design pipe cigarettes and the process of producing their tobacco leaves. 

Usually, tobacco pipes are sold in the market for RM100 - 550 each and do not include tobacco leaves that need to be purchased separately.

The Impact of Tobacco Pipe on Health

Some tobacco pipe users believe that smoking pipe is not as harmful to health as smoking cigarettes. However, this is not true.

As described above, the use of smoking pipes increases the risk of oral cancer including developing tongue, larynx (vocal cords), and throat cancer. The smoking pipe also increases the risk of developing lung, pancreatic, and bladder cancer.

In addition, pipe-smoking can also cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disease which causes difficulty in breathing due to injury to the tissues of the respiratory system. There are also reports of tobacco pipes causing gum and tooth problems. In fact, smoking pipes can also cause sexual problems such as erectile dysfunction. 

Believe it or not, secondhand smoke does not occur with smoking cigarettes only. It occurs by burning any tobacco products such as cigarettes and of course tobacco pipes. Similar to cigarettes, tobacco pipes can cause secondhand smoke which contains 7000 chemicals that could harm your loved ones. It might lead to diseases such as ear and respiratory infections in children. Exposure to secondhand smoke, adults are at risk of heart disease, lung cancer, and stroke. 

You should be aware that tobacco pipes are not as safe as believed. So, both cigarette and pipe users have the same risk for their health. Quitting smoking is the best way to live a healthy and safe life. Remember that if you quit smoking it’s not only for you but also for those around you especially your loved ones. Consult a doctor today to get help to quit smoking!

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