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Enthusiasts light up for International Pipe Smoking Day

Published: Saturday, February 14, 2009

Updated: Sunday, February 15, 2009 17:02

Pipe Smoking Day

Bethany Yamrick

Pipe Smoking Day

Bethany Yamrick

Pipe Smoking Day

Bethany Yamrick


Bethany Yamrick

There are designated days for everything you can imagine. April 25 marks World Pengiun Day, and Clean Air Day in Canada comes around every June 6.

However, one day in the calendar has been recently reserved for pipe smokers around the world. On February 20, pipe smokers around the globe will "raise their pipes together to foster friendship, benevolence, and tranquility across all borders," according to the United Pipe Clubs of America.

This February, International Pipe Smoking Day will be celebrated for the second time. The Comite International des Pipe Clubs or CIPC, which is the umbrella club for many of the national pipe smoking clubs such as the United Pipe Clubs of America, is very excited to celebrate the day.
 According to CIPC's official website, "We envision a worldwide communion of pipe-smokers that is bound together by a shared love for pipe-smoking, mutual respect, and goodwill" on February 20, 2009.

One Wilkes professor who shares these sentiments is Dr. Michael Garr, professor of sociology and anthropology. In addition to his day job, Garr is a pipe/cigar enthusiast. 

Garr's love for pipe smoking began over 12 years ago on a whim. Now he owns over 80 pipes and holds the role of President of the Pocono Inner Mountain Pipe Enclave. In that role, Garr tries to turn people onto pipe smoking whenever he gets the opportunity.

On Tuesday nights at El Humidor, located 525 Scott Street in Wilkes-Barre, meetings for the Pocono Inner Mountain Pipe Enclave meetings are held. There are currently 13 members of the club. 
"For most, the major topic of conversation are guns and Family Guy…there's a few people who are very serious about their pipes and the rest are just there for really good camaraderie," Garr said.
Smoking a pipe can take anywhere from an hour to three hours. And time is of the essence in pipe smoking competitions. The competitor gets five minutes to rub out three grams of tobacco and load it into the pipe. Then one minute is allotted to light the pipe with two matches. After it is lit, the competitor kicks back and sees how long he or she can smoke it. 
Garr took first place in the 2008 Northeast Regional Slow Smoke competition. He also competed in the CIPC's smoking contest in Germany.

Adam Zwolinski, a senior environmental science major, works at El Humidor and is also a member of the Pocono Inner Mountain Pipe Enclave. 

"It's very relaxing because it's such a long process," said Zwolinski.

This long process dates back to the 17th century when tobacco plants were found used by Native Americans and then brought over to Europe to be sold. Since then, pipe smoking has been refined and renewed, but the draw to it is still the same. Relaxation and camaraderie are what come out of pipe smoking for many. 
At 9 p.m. on Friday, February 20, pipe smokers are being asked to share in a world-wide bowl.

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