Blowing smoke rings is a complex art which requires a great deal of practice and control in order to master. Once you do, you can be the life of the party (just convince yourself of that and perhaps you won’t mind practicing so much).
There are primarily three parts of the body which you must have excellent control of in order to blow smoke rings:
- The Lips
I’ll assume most people have decent control of their lips. You will need to keep them in a proper “O” shape in order to form the ring. The size of this will vary depending on the individual, see below for specifics.
- The Diaphragm
The diaphragm is the muscle which controls breathing. You will need to be able to maintain precise control of this muscle, even if the smoke in your lungs is beginning to burn. The diaphragm is one part of a coordinated effort which is required to create an air pulse through your smoke-filled mouth which will cause a ring to form.
- The Epiglottis
The epiglottis is a flap of cartilage which you can pull shut over where your trachea (i.e. wind-pipe) meets your esophagus (the tube that connects your mouth and your stomach). It’s primarily used to prevent food/liquids from entering your lungs when swallowing.
Blowing large O’ rings using your lungs
After filling your lungs with smoke, you will need to contract your diaphragm as if to exhale but use your epiglottis to only let a small amount of air out. This will fill your mouth with smoke. This should be so slow as if to be subdued, with no real noise produced by the action.
Next, with your diaphragm still contracted, let loose a short gasp while dropping your jaw and keeping your lips in an “O” shape approximately 1″ – 2″ in diameter. The sound of a gasp you are going for is not the typical “aaaaah”, it’s more of a whispered version of Butt-head’s “huh” (as in “Huh huh huh huh, that was cool, Beavis”).
You should close your epiglottis immediately after you finish making the sound, which will create a small air pulse through the smoke in your mouth. This will force a small amount of smoke through the “O” shape you should still be making with your lips, creating a smoke ring.
If you create a disorderly puff of smoke rather than a ring, chances are the “O” you are forming with your lips is either misshapen or too small; vary the diameter and find the size that works for you.
Blowing small O’ rings using your mouth
The secret to this method is to push the smoke in your mouth out with your tongue, while making the slightest inaudible puff from your lungs. This will push some of the smoke out, creating an O’ ring. This method requires much more precise control in order not to push too much smoke out, as well as incredible tongue control.
If you struggle to products rings using this method, you can also try curling your tongue upward on both sides and curling your lips inward then back out as you exhale the smoke to produce the same effect. The lip movement is similar to the way a goldfish maneuvers its mouth to eat or search the water for food fragments.
One thing you want to keep in mind is that you don’t want to pucker your lips like the dreaded duck face. Instead you want your mouth and lips to be wide and firm, but not tense as you complete the motion.
Once you have mastered this method or the other, you can start playing around with the size of the ring by adjusting the amount you keep your mouth open. When going for mini rings make the mouth opening small and use small jaw movements to help form the rings as you carefully blow each ring out.
How to successfully blow perfect O’ rings
Thick smoke is key, especially for blowing large rings. If you are attempting to blow smoke rings with a cigarette, your best bet is to puff off of it quite a bit without inhaling, filling your mouth, at which point you can push small smoke rings out.
Cigars will provide a substantially better source of smoke than cigarettes, and the same applies to herbal sources of smoke, which are much less harsh on the lungs and are probably the ideal candidate for blowing smoke rings.
Spice up your O’ ring blowing techniques
The velocity at which you exhale controls their speed. Beware that not all ring configurations will be stable, for example larger rings need to move slower to remain stable. Practice making different sizes of rings and you can do some fun tricks, for example blowing a large, slow moving ring then blowing a small fast moving one through the middle of it.
Blow your O’ rings away from faces
Please – for the love of all that is good – do NOT blow your O’ rings in someone’s face. This is giving blowing O’ rings such a bad reputation. We’ve seen it on social media on more than one occasion.
People are venting about inconsiderate smokers that blow smoke into or at the person they are having a conversation with. Not only is second-hand smoke a real thing, it extremely offensive when someone blows it straight in your face. Turn your head and exhale in the other direction so you don’t offend people around you.
Just because you can blow O’ rings doesn’t mean you’re a celebrity
Don’t act like you are better than all smokers just because you now know how to blow O’ rings. Remember that you used to be just like them and just because you learned this new trick, you are not superior.
While you might passionately try to teach your friends how to blow O’ rings, you won’t be able to make anyone practice enough to master the skill. Practicing blowing O’ rings is one of the main things you have to do to conquer the art.