Are Bongs Bad For Your Health?

Liz Filmer
31 May 2024

The word bong originates from the Thai word “baung” which comes from the idea of using a bamboo tube to smoke weed.

How do Bongs Work?

Bongs today are very different to bamboo tubes, but they all use the same basic process. Some use just a bowl and chamber. Others are colourful, works of art. 

Over all however all bongs do the same thing. That thing is filtering and cooling smoke from burning cannabis.

Bongs typically feature a small bowl that holds dried flowers so when you light the weed it burns. As you inhale, the water in the bottom of the bong bubbles. The smoke ascends through the water and the chamber before it enters your mouth and then your lungs.

Are Bongs Better for Your Lungs?

If you want a smoother toke, a bong is ideal in comparison compared to smoking a joint.

The water in a bong eradicates the dry heat you get from a joint and the effect is often noted as being cooler, creamy, and smooth rather than harsh.

The effect can be deceiving, though. While the smoother smoke might feel better, the smoke is still filling up your lungs. Of course, a small amount of the bad stuff is getting filtered out, but not enough to make a big difference.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and other likewise organisations, smoke is still harmful to lung health regardless of what you’re smoking. This is due to carcinogens released from the combustion of materials. Smoking of any kind can still harm lung tissues, cause scarring and damage small blood vessels.

The tendency that many of us have to inhale deeply and then hold our breath when smoking weed means that we’re often exposed to more tar. This makes it easy to overdo it when you are using a bong. 

Another risk to consider applies to plastic bongs. Plastics that contain chemicals like BPA and phthalates have been linked to adverse health effects, like cancer. Research has also shown that cannabis-only smokers make more healthcare visits connected to respiratory conditions than nonsmokers. This is regardless of the method used. 

Are Bongs Dirty?

Unless you are methodical about cleanliness it is easy for your bong to get dirty quickly. But does this pose any significant health risks? 

There have been case reports of people contracting pulmonary tuberculosis from sharing a bong. Even if you don’t share a bong you may still be at risk of lung disorders and lung infections. 

A bong may cool and filter the smoke to give you a smoother toke that feels less harsh, but unfortunately, it does not protect you from the health risks of smoking. 

If you wish to use cannabis for recreational or medicinal purposes, experts recommend other ways of ingesting it are safer, these include capsules, sprays, oils, and edibles. 

More From Soft Secrets:

Should You Put Alcohol In a Bong?

How to Get High Without Smoking

Weed Hangover and How to Deal With it.


Liz Filmer