What is a bong?

A bong is a device that is used to smoke herbs or tobacco by filtering and cooling the smoke through water. Bongs are also known by other names, such as water pipes, bubblers, bingers, or billys. Bongs have been around for centuries, and they are believed to have originated from the Thai word “baung” for a bamboo tube or cylinder. Bongs can have different shapes, sizes, and materials, but they all work in a similar way.

How does a bong work?

A bong consists of a few basic parts:

  • A bowl, where the herb or tobacco is placed and lit.
  • A stem or slide, which connects the bowl to the base of the bong.
  • A base, which holds water and sometimes ice to cool the smoke.
  • A chamber or neck, which is the cylindrical part of the bong where the smoke travels up.
  • A mouthpiece, where the user inhales the smoke.
  • A carburetor or carb, which is a hole or valve that allows air to flow into the bong and clear the smoke.

To use a bong, the user fills the base with water and optionally adds ice to make the smoke even cooler. Then, the user packs the bowl with the desired amount of herb or tobacco and lights it with a lighter or a match. As the user inhales through the mouthpiece, the smoke is drawn from the bowl through the stem and into the water. The water filters out some of the tar and ash from the smoke, making it less harsh on the lungs. The water also cools down the smoke, making it more pleasant to inhale. The smoke then rises up through the chamber and into the user’s mouth and lungs. To clear the remaining smoke from the bong, the user either removes the bowl or slides it out of the stem (if it has a slide), or uncovers the carb (if it has one) and inhales quickly. This allows fresh air to enter the bong and push out the smoke.

What are the benefits of using a bong?

Some people prefer using a bong over other methods of smoking herbs or tobacco because they claim that it offers some benefits, such as:

  • A smoother and creamier hit, compared to smoking from a joint or a pipe.
  • A more efficient use of herb or tobacco, since less material is wasted by burning or escaping into the air.
  • A more flavorful experience, since some of the terpenes and aromas of the herb or tobacco are preserved by the water.
  • A more social activity, since bongs are often shared among friends or groups.

What are the risks of using a bong?

However, using a bong is not without risks. Some of these risks include:

  • Potential lung damage, since smoking any substance can harm lung tissues and cause scarring and inflammation. Smoking from a bong can also expose users to more tar per breath, since they tend to inhale deeply and hold their breath when using a bong. Moreover, bongs can encourage users to smoke more than they normally would, since they produce more smoke and make it easier to inhale.
  • Potential infection, since bongs can harbor bacteria, mold, and fungi if they are not cleaned regularly. Sharing bongs with others can also increase the risk of transmitting diseases like colds, flu, herpes, or COVID-19.
  • Potential legal issues, since bongs are often associated with illegal substances like cannabis in some places. Possessing or using a bong can result in fines or arrests depending on local laws and regulations.

How to choose a bong?

If you decide to use a bong, there are many factors to consider when choosing one that suits your needs and preferences. Some of these factors are:

  • The size of the bong. Smaller bongs are easier to carry around and store, but they may produce hotter and harsher smoke. Larger bongs are more difficult to transport and hide, but they may produce cooler and smoother smoke.
  • The shape of the bong. Bongs can have different shapes that affect how they function and how they look. Some common shapes are straight tube, beaker base, round base, percolator, and recycler. Each shape has its own advantages and disadvantages, depending on how much water it holds, how much smoke it produces, and how easy it is to clean.
  • The material of the bong. Bongs can be made from different materials that affect their durability, appearance, and price. Some common materials are glass, acrylic, ceramic, metal, and silicone. Glass bongs are the most popular because they are transparent, easy to clean, and come in many colors and designs. However, they are also the most fragile and expensive. Acrylic bongs are cheaper and more durable than glass, but they are also harder to clean and may affect the taste of the smoke. Ceramic bongs are more artistic and unique than acrylic, but they are also heavier and more breakable. Metal bongs are the most durable and affordable, but they are also the least attractive and may rust over time. Silicone bongs are flexible and resistant to heat and impact, but they may also retain odors and stains.

How to clean a bong?

To keep your bong in good condition and prevent health problems, you should clean it regularly after each use. Here are some steps to follow when cleaning a bong:

  1. Empty the water from the base and rinse it with hot water.
  2. Remove the bowl and the stem from the bong and rinse them with hot water.
  3. Fill a plastic bag or a container with rubbing alcohol and coarse salt. Put the bowl and the stem inside and shake them until they are clean. You can also use a pipe cleaner or a cotton swab to reach the hard-to-clean areas.
  4. Pour some rubbing alcohol and coarse salt into the base of the bong and cover the openings with plastic wrap or paper towels. Shake the bong until it is clean. You can also use a bottle brush or a sponge to scrub the inside of the base.
  5. Rinse the bowl, the stem, and the base with hot water until all the alcohol and salt are gone.
  6. Dry the parts with a towel or let them air dry.
  7. Reassemble the bong and store it in a safe place.


A bong is a device that is used to smoke herbs or tobacco by filtering and cooling the smoke through water. Bongs have been around for centuries, and they can have different shapes, sizes, and materials. Some people prefer using a bong over other methods of smoking because they claim that it offers a smoother, more efficient, more flavorful, and more social experience. However, using a bong is not without risks, such as potential lung damage, infection, or legal issues. Therefore, users should be aware of these risks and take precautions when using a bong, such as choosing a suitable one, cleaning it regularly, and following local laws and regulations.