Before we get into shopping, let’s actually talk a little bit about bongs and why they are actually a better way to smoke than pipes or the toxic mess that is a traditional cigarette. In its absolute simplest form, a bong is basically a bottle with a large opening at the top, and a smaller opening on the side towards the bottom. This opening towards the bottom allows for a straight chamber to be inserted diagonally, the end of it capped by a small bowl wherein the tobacco is placed.
Water is then placed inside the chamber, the straight chamber of the smoking component submerged. When lit, the user inhales a smoke through the top, causing it to bubble through the water first. When smoking tobacco or other dry herbs, this water has a profound effect on the smoke itself. First of all, while inhaling smoke is never a healthy habit, it is certainly healthier than pipes or cigarettes. The water acts as a natural filtering agent, a better filter than is found on any cigarette. It scrubs the ash and most of the carcinogenic components out, the resulting smoke mainly being comprised of the oils released when the tobacco or dry herb burns.
There is also a little bit of creativity that can be employed at this point, flavoring the water with things like extracts, fruit juices or even spirits. I am personally fond of mentholated tobacco alongside ice cubes and a dash of schnapps when using a bong. It does have a mildly-intoxicating effect, so avoid the schnapps if you are about to drive, but otherwise, it is such a cool and soothing smoke that I can’t help but recommend it to people who like minty smokes in the first place.
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That said, that’s a simple description of a bong, there are a number of different ways they can be shaped and configured while following this basic mechanical principle, and they are often works of art. You probably see a lot of them on shelves in any given small tobacco shop or convenience store, but are these the best places to shop? That depends on how much you care about your quality bong.
If you want modern precision and high-quality, you don’t want to buy just any old piece of glass from your local convenience store. Sure, it’ll do the job, but it won’t be nearly as fantastic as other options out there.
Your best bet is to go to a reputable smoke shop, or go online either directly with a manufacturer or a major online storefront, where you can buy high-end, quality bongs of various make and model guaranteed to satisfy you. If you are interested in the latest innovations in bongs or ozbongs, visit your local specialty smoke shop, or shop online where you can save a ton of money while you’re at it. Don’t just settle for any old bong because it’ll do in a pinch, or you think the design painted on it is cute.