If you’ve noticed the signs over the shelves of cheap bongs at the head shop in your town saying “for tobacco use only,” and your stash is running low, it might be tempting to try out a pinch of tobacco in your bong. Yes, I understand the logic of wondering what exactly the world of difference might be between a little cheap bong and a big hookah for shisha smoking, but it is, in fact, quite a significant one. Please don’t do it.
First, the tobacco you would likely use from a cigarette that you tear open is not the same as what is used in shisha for hookahs. Tobacco used for cigarettes is so heavily processed that it is nowhere near the natural tobacco plant, traditionally smoked from hookahs or pipes by aboriginal populations across the globe. Smoking that kind of tobacco from a cheap bong also means you’re smoking it without the little dense cotton filter at the end of every commercial cigarette. If you’ve ever smoked a whole cigarette, I’m sure you’ve seen the difference in the color of the filter by the end of the smoke.
That little thing captures a lot of really harmful toxins. Water does an abysmal job of filtering out much of anything; its main function is to cool down the smoke to allow you to take in a higher volume of smoke when you take a big rip. That means if you were to smoke tobacco through water, you’d be inhaling way more toxins and carcinogens than usual and possibly taking much larger lungfuls than you might be used to. Of course, this doesn’t make cigarettes healthy by any stretch of the imagination, but removing that barrier doesn’t aid the situation. The only person I’ve ever known to listen to a dare and smoke a big fat bowl of tobacco out of a shitty cheap bong immediately turned and puked after inhaling, so I’d recommend just not trying it.