Ask a Stoner: Does a Lighter Flame Kill Pipe Germs?

Dear Stoner: I got made fun of for running a flame over the mouthpiece of a pipe when I was smoking weed with my friend the other day — but he's also a COVID denier. Does the flame actually kill germs?

Dear Hayward: Take my advice: Don’t share weed (or hang out, for that matter) with COVID-deniers if you're worried about catching the virus. Sharing a smoke with anyone during the pandemic isn't wise, and neither is sitting next to someone who's hacking up a lung. It's best to smoke alone, or with your own utensils if you must smoke socially.

click to enlarge JACQUELINE COLLINS
Jacqueline Collins
Running a flame over a mouthpiece is a common way to “kill” germs left from someone else's saliva, and that does actually work — but not for everything. The temperature of the flame and the length it burns the mouthpiece dictate which bacteria are killed, and we're still learning about how heat kills coronavirus. Some studies find that 167 degrees kills the virus in three minutes, but a flame is obviously much hotter than that. To be safe, stick with your own piece and keep it to yourself.

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