1

votes

Smoking a Hooka

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 30, 2010 at 12:06 PM

From the Department of "Lighting Up" -- or uh, "Lightening Up":

Certainly hunter/gatherers have gathered and smoked tobacco, and even used it as a sacrament. Perhaps smoking large quantities of organic tobacco on special occasions via cigars, pipes, or waterpipes (aka hooka, nargila) would provide an enjoyable and relatively benign alternative to the evil of cigarette addiction?

As they say: "fight fire with fire".

This fascinating earlier post seems to promote organic cigarettes, but IMHO that is problematic, as it can lead to addiction.

Bdf98e5a57befa6f0877f978ba09871c

on January 30, 2012
at 06:44 PM

I quit smoking cigarettes to save money, mainly. I still enjoy my old briar pipe or a hookah when the occasion is right. I plan on owning and customizing a hookah someday.

Bdf98e5a57befa6f0877f978ba09871c

on October 13, 2011
at 08:53 PM

Personally, I would never force people to smoke. But I do smoke (usually Am Spirits, or organic pipe tobacco), and I try to do so in places where it won't bother people. Smoking is very common in some cultures. In Native American cultures or parts of the Middle East, it hasn't been nearly the addictive habit or force that it has been in vast parts of the western world.

D339c39d94d65460e28128174845f423

(821)

on July 05, 2010
at 03:47 PM

Again here we see the contrast between purism and a realistic pragmatism.

D339c39d94d65460e28128174845f423

(821)

on July 05, 2010
at 03:46 PM

It's not so clear that it was smoked there, but it was consumed. Also keep in mind that it is a different variety.

485bcefe7f1f7a6df1a293a826bf6137

(2191)

on July 03, 2010
at 03:47 AM

Yes, the problem is with the chemicals in cigarettes, not the tobacco itself. I don't recall any stories of native Americans developing emphysema or lung cancer.

D738a5b2a67f3c36518a2ac9f32d27af

(821)

on July 03, 2010
at 03:07 AM

Yeah, my comments were a bit disjointed as I started my reply then went back and read the links. I meant the 400 or so chemicals in commercial American tobacco. As an aside, I knew someone who used shisha as her drug of choice to help her stay otherwise clean and sober at parties. More power to her--shisha was doing far less damage to her life than booze and drugs were. And yeah, the flavored shisha she used (apple?) was yummy.

37f4b3c51afbd92d259afaa171270874

(1219)

on July 02, 2010
at 08:23 PM

@42 The American Spirits made from special cigar tobacco is the best of the bunch, but they are hard to find. @Zohar Nutritional puritanism is an especially American trait. The cognitive dissonance that occurs when you demonstrate man, including paleo man, has been getting high forever is a sight to behold. And nothing like a few youtubes to show that animals are in on the gig too. :-)

B8d8d1a9d9da5c1fbc1344e4e06bf69a

(174)

on July 02, 2010
at 02:39 PM

Interesting, zohar, I (obviously) wasn't aware that tobacco grows naturally anywhere else.

D339c39d94d65460e28128174845f423

(821)

on July 01, 2010
at 04:01 PM

These practical responses and the many votes for Stephen's purist response really highlight the different approaches being taken to this sensitive issue. It is also evident on many other paleo issues, like how much to cheat. Maybe a little cheating can help avoid a major disastrous binge.

D339c39d94d65460e28128174845f423

(821)

on July 01, 2010
at 03:55 PM

I think the 400 chemicals mentioned are in cigarettes, not shisha. If the molasses is bad for you (menthols anyone?), I don't know, but they sure are tasty! There are unflavored varieties, and you can smoke whatever you want in those pipes.

573249ac818e3e15ad61be14e0e0c830

on July 01, 2010
at 08:30 AM

after switching to american spirits i can't smoke anything else without feeling nauseous and headache-y!

C53665c3f012fa1ede91033b08a8a6e7

(2269)

on June 30, 2010
at 11:36 PM

People who switch to Am Spirit generally do smoke a lot less eventually, mostly because they taste awful ;) However as a lifelong smoker I really do need to do... something. Probably switch to the dirt-tasting AmSPirits. Bleah.

37f4b3c51afbd92d259afaa171270874

(1219)

on June 30, 2010
at 04:27 PM

Zohar, thanks for visiting my blog and thanks for the shout out.

37f4b3c51afbd92d259afaa171270874

(1219)

on June 30, 2010
at 04:26 PM

The few people I have known who switched to American Spirits didn't seem to have an addiction. In fact they noticed their addiction going away and smoking more for enjoyment than habit. They found they could go days without smoking after the transition. On a personal note one summer I smoked 3 cigars a day. As soon as the summer was over and I was no longer sitting on my deck overlooking the water every night, I stopped. Easy as pie. And then just smoked on an occasional basis.

37f4b3c51afbd92d259afaa171270874

(1219)

on June 30, 2010
at 04:24 PM

Folks have been smoking all kind of stuff (not just tobacco) for time immemorial. :-)

37f4b3c51afbd92d259afaa171270874

(1219)

on June 30, 2010
at 04:23 PM

The few people I have known who switched to American Spirits didn't seem to have an addiction. In fact they noticed their addiction going away and smoking more for enjoyment than habit. They found they could days without smoking after the transition. On a personal note one summer I smoked 3 cigars a day. As soon as the summer was over and I was no longer sitting on my deck overlooking the water every night, I stopped. Easy as pie. And then just smoked on an occasional basis.

D339c39d94d65460e28128174845f423

(821)

on June 30, 2010
at 02:36 PM

Chill out man, its natural ;-) Some say it's even good for you! http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/9962636434?tag=michmilethewa-20 The real stuff, not American cigarettes of course! http://nutrition-and-physical-regeneration.com/blog/2534/tobacco/reach-lucky-sweet/

D339c39d94d65460e28128174845f423

(821)

on June 30, 2010
at 02:29 PM

See here that a variety of tobacco is native to Australia/New Guinea: http://www.drugtext.org/library/articles/912411.htm

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3 Answers

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3
B8d8d1a9d9da5c1fbc1344e4e06bf69a

(174)

on June 30, 2010
at 01:57 PM

As far as I know, tobacco only existed and/or was consumed in the Americas until the 16th century. I guess it depends on your definition of Grok, but I don't see any paleo-history justifying tobacco consumption.

That said, I'm growing organic (burley) tobacco next season, and I will probably partake in some of the dried leaves. Growing is more for others around me who smoke rather than myself. I, basically, never smoke, but smoking my own is appealing.

D339c39d94d65460e28128174845f423

(821)

on June 30, 2010
at 02:29 PM

See here that a variety of tobacco is native to Australia/New Guinea: http://www.drugtext.org/library/articles/912411.htm

B8d8d1a9d9da5c1fbc1344e4e06bf69a

(174)

on July 02, 2010
at 02:39 PM

Interesting, zohar, I (obviously) wasn't aware that tobacco grows naturally anywhere else.

D339c39d94d65460e28128174845f423

(821)

on July 05, 2010
at 03:46 PM

It's not so clear that it was smoked there, but it was consumed. Also keep in mind that it is a different variety.

37f4b3c51afbd92d259afaa171270874

(1219)

on June 30, 2010
at 04:24 PM

Folks have been smoking all kind of stuff (not just tobacco) for time immemorial. :-)

4
4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

on June 30, 2010
at 02:17 PM

We eat paleo for health, we've eliminated grains legumes vegetable oil to avoid toxins... Why would we intentionally consume a known extreme ACUTE poison?

D339c39d94d65460e28128174845f423

(821)

on June 30, 2010
at 02:36 PM

Chill out man, its natural ;-) Some say it's even good for you! http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/9962636434?tag=michmilethewa-20 The real stuff, not American cigarettes of course! http://nutrition-and-physical-regeneration.com/blog/2534/tobacco/reach-lucky-sweet/

37f4b3c51afbd92d259afaa171270874

(1219)

on June 30, 2010
at 04:27 PM

Zohar, thanks for visiting my blog and thanks for the shout out.

485bcefe7f1f7a6df1a293a826bf6137

(2191)

on July 03, 2010
at 03:47 AM

Yes, the problem is with the chemicals in cigarettes, not the tobacco itself. I don't recall any stories of native Americans developing emphysema or lung cancer.

Bdf98e5a57befa6f0877f978ba09871c

on October 13, 2011
at 08:53 PM

Personally, I would never force people to smoke. But I do smoke (usually Am Spirits, or organic pipe tobacco), and I try to do so in places where it won't bother people. Smoking is very common in some cultures. In Native American cultures or parts of the Middle East, it hasn't been nearly the addictive habit or force that it has been in vast parts of the western world.

2
D738a5b2a67f3c36518a2ac9f32d27af

on July 01, 2010
at 02:46 AM

I don't have an answer for you, just some musings and further questions.

I'm curious about this too, but don't expect to find a good answer because no one is going to fund a study to find out that natural tobacco isn't bad for you. I think Big Tobacco has funded a few studies to that effect for their nasty products, but consider the (lying sack o' BS) source. On the other hand, I wonder if the "Tobacco Is Evil" message is similar conventional wisdom to "Fat Is Evil". It might depend on the type of tobacco, just like we know grass-fed animal fat is good for you and chemically extracted industrial vegetable oil is very bad for you. I'm not saying that any form of tobacco is ever going to be good for you, but perhaps there are forms that are less harmful if used in moderation.

I'm a social smoker. I can go months without smoking. In my experience, this is pretty rare, as tobacco is usually an all-or-nothing addiction. I explained my level of usage to my doctor and she didn't seem alarmed at all. And yes, I use American Spirits. I recently switched to organic, though I think it's doubtful it makes a difference in the relative harm the smoke may do to me--helps keep crap out of the soil however.

So if you choose to smoke (yeah, not healthy, but how many paleos still drink beer or smoke certain herbs?), use American Spirit or similar. I don't have the facts to back this up, but I understand that most U.S. tobacco (e.g. Marlboros, Camels, etc.) is cured with sugar (I might have got that from Dufty--thanks Michael!). Ever made caramel? Imagine what that burnt sugar does to your lungs--I find the use of molasses with shisha mentioned in the article zohar cited above alarming. Not to mention the 400 or so other chemicals they use.

Did Native Americans have lung problems that stemmed from ritual tobacco usage (I assume they didn't chain smoke) before Europeans came along and they changed their diets? Many tribes were at least semi-agricultural at that point anyway, but I don't know if that would make a difference.

With regards to the earlier post about tobacco and possible benefits, one poster said that nicotine is an analogue of epinephrine, and having ADHD, I know that I'm low on epinephrine. It's possible smoking helps me focus. I'm trying to improve my brain chemistry through diet, exercise and the judicious use of supplements (including amino acids), however. Seems a safer bet.

D339c39d94d65460e28128174845f423

(821)

on July 05, 2010
at 03:47 PM

Again here we see the contrast between purism and a realistic pragmatism.

D339c39d94d65460e28128174845f423

(821)

on July 01, 2010
at 03:55 PM

I think the 400 chemicals mentioned are in cigarettes, not shisha. If the molasses is bad for you (menthols anyone?), I don't know, but they sure are tasty! There are unflavored varieties, and you can smoke whatever you want in those pipes.

D738a5b2a67f3c36518a2ac9f32d27af

(821)

on July 03, 2010
at 03:07 AM

Yeah, my comments were a bit disjointed as I started my reply then went back and read the links. I meant the 400 or so chemicals in commercial American tobacco. As an aside, I knew someone who used shisha as her drug of choice to help her stay otherwise clean and sober at parties. More power to her--shisha was doing far less damage to her life than booze and drugs were. And yeah, the flavored shisha she used (apple?) was yummy.

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