Introduction to Bong

A bong is a filtration device that is mostly used for smoking herbal substances such as cannabis and tobacco. A bong is much like a hookah but is usually smaller and more portable.

Bongs can be created from any air-tight and water-tight vessel by adding a stem apparatus with a bowl on the end. The stem will guide the air downward below the water that sits inside a cylinder tube (Chamber). When the smoke reaches the chamber, the smoke will make the water bubble up and, in return, will leave the user with a cleaner smoke.

Bongs are often referred to as popper bottles, bubblers, or water pipes. In the Middle East, they are also known as a "sheesha" and many time used socially for the consumption of tobacco and other herbal substances.

Using Bong

A bong infused with water can be used to trap some of the heavier, unwanted particles and water-soluble molecules. The smoke passing through water will prevent these undesirable pieces from entering the smoker's lungs. Since the active chemicals in most of the herbs used in bongs are not water soluble, this can come in handy for those looking for a "clean" smoke.

The mechanics of a bong are compared to those of a laboratory gas washing bottle. The user puts their mouth at the top and places the substance of use in the bowl. While lighting the herb of choice, the user pulls the smoke in through the top of the chamber, which can be referred to as the mouthpiece. Most bongs have what is declared as a carburetor (Carb). This is a little hole placed somewhere on the chamber that the user places their finger over while lighting the smokable material. Doing so will leave the chamber filled with an abundance of smoke. The next step would be to take your finger of the carb and inhale all of this smoke. One main reason for this carb is to produce a lot of smoke for one hit, making the effects much more intense.

Different Uses for Bong

Forms of Bong

Ice Bongs - An ice bong is made with special notches in the chamber that allow you to fill it up with ice while still allowing the smoke to travel with ease. Filling a bong with ice forms a cold pathway for the smoke to pass through. Accommodating a bong with ice results in cooler smoke, which also provides the user with a smoother hit. The main benefit of this is allowing the user to inhale more smoke without choking.

Percolator Bongs - This type of bong is known to clean your smoke even more than your average bong. After the smoke reaches the water in the chamber, it will leave that water and enter the percolator. Percolators are responsible for breaking down the smoke into smaller segments that allow it to be filtered at higher rates than a normal water bong.

Gravity Bongs - Gravity bongs work differently than any other bong and do not clean the smoke very much, if at all. As the name says, a gravity bong uses gravity to fill the chamber instead of the force provided by your lungs. The bong will be submerged under water before the material is lit. While lighting your material the user will raise the bong slowly from out of the water, leaving the chamber filled with smoke. Next, the user will remove the bowl and hit it like you would any other bong.

Bongs can also be made out of different materials, which can result in drastic price changes. It is mostly just for the users preference on what type of material is wanted.

Acrylic - Acrylic bongs are cheap substitutes glass bongs that provide the user with very noticable effects. This is probably good material for a first buy, to use and understand how bongs work.

Glass - Glass is probably the most popular material used to make bongs. It is easy to mold and reflects heat. The fact that it reflects heat will allow the user to settle any fear of being burned by the bong. The flavor of your lighted material will not have an added taste to it like other bongs may have. This is a favorable trait of glass bongs among many users. This type of material results in huge price ranges, which can become very expensive.

Ceramic - Ceramic bongs are made from wet clay and then dried to become hard. Clay can be used to make bongs have nicer, more intricate designs. However, the designs may be more elaborate but bongs made out of this material are practically the least popular kind. The price range will cost more than acrylic but will still be way cheaper than glass.

Legal Status of Bong

Throughout the world where drugs used in bongs are illegal, some retailers will state that the bongs are intended for use with tobacco or other legal herbs in an attempt to get around the laws against selling drug paraphernalia. While the word 'bong' does not specifically mean a device used for smoking illegal drugs, drug-related connotations have been formed with the word itself. Thus for fear of the law many head shops will not serve customers who use the word "bong", or any other word typically associated with illegal drug use.


In the United States, under the Federal Drug Paraphernalia Statute, which is part of the Controlled Substance Act, it is illegal to sell, transport through the mail, transport across state lines, import, or export drug paraphernalia.

History of Bong

Bong use started in China around the time of the late Ming Dynasty with tobacco, through the Silk Road and Persia. It quickly became the most popular method to smoke tobacco until the Republic era. The water bong is known to have been preferred by Empress Dowager Cixi. According to the Imperial Household Department, she was buried with at least three water pipes; some of her collections can be seen in the Palace Museum.

The water pipe employed since the Qing dynasty can be divided into two types: the homemade version of a bong made out of bamboo is commonly used by country people. However, a more elegant version made of metal was employed by Chinese merchants, urbanites, and nobility. Metal utensils are typically made out of brass or bronze while the more elegant version is made up of silver and decorated with jewels.

During a session of smoking out of a bong, the user keeps all of the equipment inside the rack and will hold the entire assembly in one hand. While doing so, the user will light the bowl with a slow-burning paper wick lit over a coal stove. The water pipe, in this region, is typically employed by older generations. The same is not true for people living in North America and the Southern Hemisphere.

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