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topic 38402

Smoking through copper tobacco pipes

A discussion started in 2004 but continuing through 2019


Q. I have a lot of friends smoking through copper. Is this dangerous? Are there any poisons released from heat? Can you smoke through copper safely?

Tom Waters
hobbyist/student - Murwillumbah, NSW, Australia


A. Hi Tom. No, the copper will not remove the hazardous tar and nicotine that are released by the tobacco. So no, they cannot smoke safely through copper :-)

Copper is not especially toxic unless you ingest a good bit of it, but a good general rule is not to use items for purposes for which they aren't intended because no studies are done of such situations, no history of safe/unsafe use is accumulated, and we're left only with guessing rather than data. Further, things aren't always what they look like, and it is possible to therefore employ something seriously hazardous.

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha


Q. I was wondering if I make my dad a long pipe out of copper if it would get hot enough that it would burn him? It's at least 21" long if that makes a difference. And what should I put on it to make it safe?

Eric McGaughy
job corp - Longview, Washington, USA


A. If you are talking about a tobacco pipe, copper is a bad choice. It is the most heat conductive metal of the non precious metals.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida


A. Copper is very conductive to heat, so chances are it will end up getting a bit hot.

As I pipe smoker I can't see why you'd want to use copper, as it will not let much cake build up around the bowl of the pipe (residue of ash and a bit of char on the inside of the pipe, sweetens the leaf a bit when smoking depending on what tobacco was smoked for the first bowl). Some don't like to let their pipe build up any cake, but it adds to a smoking experience.

If you are bent on using copper I would suggest finding something to insulate the bowl of the pipe, the copper will become uncomfortably hot to the touch, and it will be a heavy piece and need to be held in the hand.

Marc Banks
Blacksmith - Shiloh, North Carolina

Using a chrome socket as a smoking pipe

February 22, 2015

Q. I have been using a craftsmen 4mm socket as a pipe to smoke medical grade marijuana out of lately. I put my medical grade marijuana in one end of the small 4 mm socket and smoke out of it either using a match or bic lighter. I am just wondering if smoking out of this nickel chrome plating is releasing bad chemicals when I smoke out of it. Any information you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Thank you... sincerely James

James Dobbs
- Daytona beach, Florida, usa

June 17, 2017

Q. I made a Church warden style pipe and to keep the wood stem nice and open I used a piece of copper tube the bowl is still wood but the stem is copper would there be any negative effects from the copper? I've heard different things about copper being dangerous and toxic or what not but I was seeing that being said when it was being heated up or burnt so would there be any health impacts aside from whatever the tobacco may cause?

Jessie Nieboer
- Walkerville Michigan USA

June 16, 2019

Q. Doesn't copper release arsenic when heated to high temps?

Bob Lazar
- SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Nebraska usa

June 17, 2019

A. Hi Bob,
Depends on the alloy. While it is true that there ARE copper alloys that include Arsenic for the physical properties it imparts, this is not standard, and most of us will never encounter them. Copper in and of itself is an elemental substance and contains no Arsenic. Most copper one will encounter as a layman is Alloy 110 which is over 99.9% pure copper (you'll see this in drinking water pipes, for example).
It's quite easy to find glass or stainless steel fittings that are specifically made as components for home-made hand-pipes, and that should put your mind more at ease if you are concerned with contamination.

Rachel Mackintosh
Plating Solutions Control Specialist / Industrial Metals Waste Treatment - Brattleboro, Vermont

June 18, 2019

thumbs up sign  Thank you Rachel,

I have read many stories of less than reputable ways used to mine, smelt and store copper vs. it being in the Cu. More concerned youth discovering the newly allowed forbidden fruit, going into grandpa's toolbox and fashioning a "pipe". Smoking thru Al could cause Parkinson's, copper (finishes) that are applied to store copper so it does not oxidize ARE extremely dangerous and I feel this laissez faire attitude is detrimental to helping (these finishes and glazes on copper pipes are dangerous). WHY DO THE COPPER PIPES AT HARDWARE STORE HAVE NO GREEN OXIDE? Well it has a finish applied that burns off when it is soldered
There is no copper fashioned into a device that you inhale through that is safe, and only copper pipe manufactured from either of two alloys, C10300 or C12200 are 99.9% pure. Can you tell which one the pipe in your hands was made from? Or a cheaper process?
I am not a troll and find this appalling.

We are on a threshold of a new awakening, a glimpse of having say over what we take into our own bodies with no sanctions imposed by a freedom-based government. AND YOU ALL ARE TELLING KIDS AND THE OBTUSE TO SMOKE THROUGH SOFT TOXIC METALS.

Deer antler, Hard Wood (hickory, ash), silicone glass, ceramic and pyrex are THE only safe items that do not give off toxic chemicals when heated.
Even regular glass could give off lead if of cheap manufacturing.

If you can state with empirical facts that I can verify then I will say yeah let the kids smoke through copper, aluminum, steel (you are aware of steel smelting), or cheap chromed metal sockets.
At least say, No, go corner store and buy glass, preferably pyrex or ceramic.

Copper is inert to safe level at user temperatures 32 °F -115 °F. You are aware of what binds copper fittings together -- lead -- thats why PVC and CPVC are used. Copper oxide and black copper oxide cause kidney problems, liver failure and muscle and joint pain (conspiracy theory: copper causes fibromyalgia, but imagine the law suits and panic if it were said to be true).

Now yes in the big scheme of things what does a molecule here and a molecule there matter ... none till they start to accumulate.

Please reconsider saying copper is safe to use to consume tobacco.

Tobacco has arsenic spray added to it, so it will continue to burn (a fact).

Please don't perceive this as a rant, but a concern that a debatable falsehood is being passed on with the propaganda of the past. What better way to shut it down then our pestering lawmakers saying that people are getting hurt because they just need to be guided even with smoking thru Russian reclaimed irradiated copper.

Yes I exaggerate a bit but its to make a point.

Thank you moderator for allowing my voice, it's becoming a dangerous lost art to speak one's mind anymore.

Brian Trump [returning]
- Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania usa

June 2019

A. Hi Bob. People asked and were told 3 times by 3 different responders that using copper pipe is a poor choice and dangerous. You then asked Rachel whether copper releases arsenic and her answer was that copper itself is an element and if arsenic was not in the particular alloy it obviously cannot produce arsenic ... and you then tell us the tobacco has arsenic.

We do not censor anyone's opinion or their version of facts, but we want civil & serious discussions. You are completely welcome to strongly state your opinion, but a perfunctory "thank you" followed by "attitude is detrimental", "appalling", "YOU ALL ARE TELLING KIDS AND THE OBTUSE TO SMOKE THROUGH SOFT TOXIC METALS", while posting with a fictitious name and location at least once, maybe both times, isn't a great start towards a serious and civil discussion :-)

Have a nice day.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha

June 18, 2019

Whoooooa DUUUUUUDE [Brian]. Relax. You're on a professional metal finisher's forum in a hobby section added by the moderator as a courtesy to hobbyists. Most people here (myself included) have strong technical backgrounds and deal with substances FAR more hazardous than copper pipe as a daily matter of making a paycheck, and hardly need a lecture on chemical safety. I'm probably gonna die of chromium toxicity or getting beaned in the noggin by a parts-rack crane long before I have to worry about my kidneys failing from PVC cement or whatever you're on about. I'm sure there are websites that are inhabited by less-technical people (I can think of several, and one of them is the subject of several active lawsuits, so better post fast before it vanishes from the Internetz) with enough time on their hands to read that whole rant... Meanwhile, I suggest you sit down and enjoy your deer antler pipe and a cup of rainwater peppermint tea (make sure you distill the rainwater first, because, you know, Chemtrails). It sounds like you need it.
Anyway, you're welcome for answering your question, I guess? lol *sigh

Rachel Mackintosh
Plating Solutions Control Specialist / Industrial Metals Waste Treatment - Brattleboro, Vermont

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