Ice Pinch Bong: Cooling Smoke

Hot smoke could be a nuisance for any smoker. Bongs filter smoke through a series of dispersion mechanisms and percolators, but smoke could still be hot after the process. An ice pinch bong combines dispersion, bubbling, and ice to actively cool smoke to a reasonable temperature before the user inhales. Most ice pinches are contained in bong’s tube, near the mouthpiece. The ice pinch is often the last cooling mechanism that smoke passes through.

What is an Ice Pinch?

An ice pinch is a narrowed section of a bong’s tube, which serves as a landing spot for ice. Smokers could drop ice into the tube through the mouthpiece. Two or more protruding glass pieces capture the ice. Sometimes the glass tube is literally “pinched” or indented, preventing ice from falling into the tobacco bong’s base. The opening between the pinch and the bong’s base allows smoke to rise to the mouthpiece, without ice falling. As the ice absorbs the smoke’s heat it begins to melt and drips into the bong’s base. Ice pinch bongs may overfill with water if too much ice melts.

Some bongs have built in cooling systems. Glycerin is a chemical that has a very low freezing point. Many bongs have tubes that contain glycerin gel, between their base and mouthpiece. These can be placed in a freezer and used without worrying about ice melting.

Handling the Heat

When tobacco is lit in a bowl, it reaches temperatures around 3,578 degrees Fahrenheit (the average temperature at which a butane lighter ignites). Inhaling anything at this temperature could be harmful to a user’s lungs. Most smoking devices provide some sort of barrier between the bowl and the mouthpiece, allowing for some layer of dispersion and cooling before inhalation. Hand pipes contain a tube or stem that holds smoke while the carburetor is held down. Releasing the carb causes fresh to rush in, mixing with the smoke, effectively cooling the smoke before inhalation.

Bongs uses similar cooling mechanisms. While the bowl is attached to the bong’s joint, smoke enters the main chamber where it is dispersed and makes first contact with water. Smoke is then carried through the tube or a series of percolators. These range from barrel percolators to tree percs. All percs serve the purpose of cooling and filtering smoke. By separating smoke into many streams, surface area is increased, allowing for enhanced cooling and filtration. The ice pinch is the last step of cooling. As smoke disperses through the tube, ice, captured by two or more protruding glass pieces, absorbs the smoke’s heat.

Ice Pinch Bong with Tree Perc

Best Way to Use an Ice Pinch Bong

It is recommended that users fill their ice pinch bongs with less water than would normally be used. As ice melts, excess water may spill into the bong’s base, getting caught in the percolation system. To prevent splashback, users should consider the amount of water that will drip into their bong before filling it up. Crushed ice may melt and cluster together like snow, clogging the tube. It is best to use regular, whole pieces of ice, or a combination of whole and crushed ice. Crushed ice will cool smoke faster, but it will also melt faster, due to its greater surface area. Extra ice should be kept on the side, serving as a replacement for melted ice cubes.

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