Staying healthy is on the top of everyone’s priority list these days. It can be tricky to not share some germs though when you join a traditional smoking circle.

Smoking etiquette 101 is to puff, puff, and pass the piece on to the next person in the smoke circle. However, that can no longer be the norm when you are trying to not pass along germs to your fellow session mates. There are some ways you can prevent passing along unwanted germs though and still join the smoke session with your friends.

The first thing you can do to keep you and your session mates healthy is to consistently clean smoking pieces. Whether it is a pipe, bong, bubbler, dab rig, or vaporizer, all of these pieces can be cleaned fairly easily. Cleaning will be even easier to manage if it’s done in between every session. Here are a few in-depth articles where you can learn more about how to clean your piece of choice:

·How to Clean a Bong
·How to Clean a Bubbler
·How to Clean a Pipe
·How to Clean a Desktop Vaporizer

If you are using any type of water pipe, it is best practice to change the water every time you sit down for a smoke session. Also, be sure to dump out the water after every session and never store your piece with stale water in it. Standing water can lead to the growth of mold and other germs, so it is best to prevent that by storing your piece dry. It also doesn’t hurt to have a special cabinet for your pieces, to make sure that dust and grime doesn’t settle into the crevasses when it’s not in use.

If you prefer to be extra careful when it comes to germs, then you should have a set of isopropyl alcohol wipes handy in your smoking circle. Before you pass your glass piece on to the next smoker, swab it down with an alcohol wipe. Also, be sure to allow the piece to dry before placing it to your mouth again just like you would for a dry herb vaporizer. It is important to note though that you should not use alcohol wipes on any piece that isn’t made of glass. Alcohol can cause damage to plastic or wooden pieces with prolonged use.

Before you join a smoke circle, always be sure to wash your hands. It is best practice to wash for at least 20-seconds with soap and water. If no soap or water is available though, then you can use a dose of alcohol-based hand sanitizer instead. It’s also best to avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth in between hand washings. Sharing a piece is like sharing a plate of food with others, and you would always wash your hand before joining the dinner table.

We’ve all experienced the reflexive cough after a good long bong rip -- but be sure to cover that cough when it happens. It’s best to use a tissue and, of course, wash your hands thoroughly afterward. If the cough sneaks up on you though, cover your mouth and nose with the crook of your arm instead. It’s also a great idea to keep a face mask handy or on your face in between rips.

The safest method to prevent sharing germs is to just bring your own piece to the session. If everyone brings their own piece, then no germs are shared. If you don’t own a piece and rely on your friends for them instead, then you can come prepared with a silicone pipe cover instead. These are also known as bong condoms, and there is some debate within the community as to whether they work well or not. However, if you’re afraid of sharing germs then it is a good option for keeping your germs to yourself.

If you’re not feeling well, then it is best for everyone in the circle if you sit this session out and grab a personal vape pen. If you notice that you have a cough and fever, then it’s probably best to stay home and reach out to your doctor instead. Avoiding close contact with others is one of the only ways to ensure you won’t pass along any germs.

Practicing good health habits can help reduce your risk of passing germs along to your friends in a smoking session. Be sure to always get enough sleep, exercise, water, and nutritious food. Also, find some methods, besides smoking, that can help manage your stress levels. All of this combined can lead to a healthier you and a healthier smoke session. Let your friends get stoned, not sick!