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4 Easy Steps to Light Your Tobacco Pipe | How to Light a Tobacco Pipe

How to Light a Tobacco Pipe: 4 Easy Steps

Pipe smoking is an amazing pastime, and a few simple steps need to be taken to get the perfect period of smoking bliss while you are relaxing. However, during this period, if you do not light your pipe correctly, you will be lighting and relighting your pipe almost every time you want to draw in some smoke. So, how do you light your tobacco pipe, while also enjoying the sweet sensations of the smoke?

To light your tobacco pipe, there are 4 easy steps:

Step 1: Pack your pipe with your favorite tobacco.

Step 2: With your lighter, hold the flame just above the tobacco for an instant char light.

Step 3: Draw on your pipe and slowly move the flame around in a circular motion over the tobacco to create an even light.

Step 4: Puff on your pipe periodically to keep it lit. 

Once the pipe is lit you can usually sit back and relax, enjoying the smoke and the unique flavors of your tobacco of choice. However, there are several things that you will need to learn about pipe smoking before you are considered a master. Usually, the only way to learn is through experience, as every single pipe has its own nuances. 

Should my pipe be dying all the time after lighting it?

The simple answer is yes. As you are smoking your pipe, it will die out and need to be relit occasionally when you need to take another puff from it. This is a big reason why smoking a pipe can and should take you a while- it is a process, albeit a relaxing one.  

Relighting and pulling a few drags lets you comfortably enjoy the smoke as you continue, without stressing about the tobacco being burnt away. Your pipe should die after about 5-15 minutes, but if it is dying out sooner, then it is a sign you may have packed the tobacco wrong. 

What should I use to light my tobacco pipe?

You will find that the best way to light your pipe is with a special pipe lighter. You can use normal lighters, but will likely burn your hand if doing so, as the fire flickers across your fingers when you tilt the lighter towards the bowl of the pipe. Plus, the butane in normal lighters creates an extra, unwanted taste when smoking. However, if you are still inexperienced at pipe smoking and learning how to smoke a pipe, then it is extremely likely that you will not be able to taste this at all. Overall, the best lighters for tobacco pipes are pipe lighters, which create a blow torch-like effect that will direct the flame into the bowl of the pipe and leave no funky taste on the tobacco. Despite the benefits of pipe lighters, matches still remain a popular mechanism for lighting tobacco pipes.

How do I light my tobacco pipe with matches?

Matches are tricky to use to light tobacco pipes because they have sulphur in them, and you need to wait until all of this has been burnt up before you bring the flame to your pipe. Doing so will ensure that you are only using the fire from the burning wood to light your pipe, which is a lot more important than many people realize. If you are immediately using the lit match to light your pipe, then some of the sulfur will transfer to the tobacco in your pipe, altering the flavors and your enjoyment of the pipe.

Using a match for your pipe should only be done when you do not have a pipe lighter, as the tricks and techniques to using the matches will be a lot harder to perfect. Furthermore, you will need to use matches several times as you are smoking, quickly diminishing your supply. It should also be noted that there are pipe safe matches that you can use, however, they cost a lot more than a pipe lighter and are used up quickly.

What is a false light and why is it important?

The first time you are smoking your pipe, you might light the tobacco and immediately start puffing, only to be left coughing within a few seconds. This will be because you are not taking into account the false light, which is needed to ensure that the tobacco does not burn too fast, but also to ensure that not too much is lit up at once. The false light is the initial lighting of the tobacco, which typically burns out quickly and requires a second try.

The bowl of a pipe holds a lot of tobacco and when you are lighting it, you will be lighting all of it at once, causing a large amount of smoke to be taken in if you do not wait a bit. The biggest secret to smoking a pipe is that you will need to breathe in some normal air along with the smoke from the bowl. The false light ensures that the tobacco does not burn up instantly, that there is good airflow, and that the tobacco dies out when you are not actively drawing in.

If you are unable to light your pipe, then this is a sign that there is too much ash in the bowl.  This is when you should tap the bowl a bit while upside down to let the loose ash fall out. The tobacco will be safe behind a harder layer of ash, allowing you to relight it and enjoy the last few puffs from the pipe. When you have reached this point, it is a sure sign that you are almost done with your pipe smoking session.

How long should it take to complete a pipe-smoking session?

From the false light up to the final puffs being pulled, a pipe-smoking session should last anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, depending on the amount of tobacco you have in your pipe, how much you puff, and how long you puff each time. 

The total length of your pipe-smoking session will always depend on how much tobacco you have packed because this determines how much there is to physically smoke. Sometimes you may only pack the bowl halfway, as this allows you to comfortably enjoy the smoke without having to stress about needing to finish the tobacco and smoking as fast as possible.

If you are enjoying the smoke, you may even want to empty the tobacco early and repack it to have the session last longer. Pipe smoking is all about relaxing, whether on your porch, in front of the fireplace, while talking with friends, or just while having a quiet moment after a long day. Smoking a pipe is all about having a relaxing, pleasurable time, not about finishing your pipe as fast as possible.