What is Bonging and Why Did It Go Viral on TikTok?

Bonging is the latest viral trend on TikTok where users drink, or pretend to drink, water out of a bong. Videos tagged #bonging have over 230 million views on the platform so far. This unusual trend has left many people curious about bongs and why hitting one has become a viral meme.

A Brief History of Bongs

Bongs, also known as water pipes, have been used for centuries to smoke tobacco and cannabis. They were first created in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East as early as the 16th century.

Bongs work by passing smoke through water to cool and filter it before inhalation. The water also helps remove some carcinogens found in smoke. Bongs come in all shapes and sizes, but generally consist of a chamber for water, a stem, a bowl for burning plant material, and a mouthpiece.

While bongs were traditionally used for smoking, the viral videos on TikTok depict people using bongs to drink liquids, typically water. The trend appears to have emerged in 2022 before exploding in popularity in early 2023.

How the Bonging Trend Went Viral on TikTok

The #bonging videos really seemed to take off when popular TikTok creators started participating in the trend. Their videos showed them taking huge gulps of water out of bongs, often until they were coughing or water was pouring down their faces.

Some of the most popular bonging videos have come from creators like @blobbynfriends (1.7M+ likes), @haleyleigh216 (4.4M+ likes), and @chefmiketakeson (1.2M+ likes). Their lighthearted videos helped show the trend wasn’t just about consuming cannabis.

Part of what makes the bonging trend so shareable is how unusual and absurd it looks to see someone guzzling water from a giant bong. The oversized bongs coupled with people’s reactions create a humorous effect. The videos also lend themselves to duets and stitches where other TikTokers can recreate the challenge.

As the trend grew, some videos evolved into more extreme bonging challenges. People tried to chug entire jugs of water or do complicated tricks while bonging. Each creator tried to put their own spin on videos for a chance to go viral.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Bonging Water

While bonging is mostly treated as a joke online, some supporters believe inhaling water vapor through a bong provides health advantages:

Potential Benefits

  • Hydration – Bonging water can help increase daily fluid intake.
  • Lung expansion – Taking big rips from a bong requires deep inhalation, which expands lung capacity.
  • Water filtration – Bongs filter out particles, which some claim leads to smoother hits.
  • Fun and amusement – Bonging provides entertainment value for users and viewers.

Potential Drawbacks

  • Risk of water inhalation – Taking big hits could cause water to enter the lungs.
  • Choking hazard – People may cough and choke from inhaling large amounts of water vapor.
  • Germs – Shared bongs could spread illnesses like colds and flu.
  • Addiction risk – Those already addicted to bongs for cannabis may increase harmful habits.

Overall, moderation is key with any substance use, including bonging plain water. While unlikely to be seriously dangerous, taking excessively large hits could be unpleasant or even dangerous for some.

Step-by-Step Guide to Bonging Water

For those curious to try the bonging trend safely, here is a step-by-step guide:

What You’ll Need

  • Clean bong
  • Water
  • Lighter or hemp wick (optional)

Fill the Bong

  • Add cold water to the bong chamber. Be careful not to overfill.
  • Some prefer adding ice to further cool the vapor. Crushed ice or cubes work.

Light It Up

  • Optional step since bonging water doesn’t involve burning plant material.
  • Lighting the bowl or hemp wick before inhaling adds to the experience.

Form a Seal

  • Form an airtight seal with your mouth around the mouthpiece.

Inhale Slowly at First

  • Begin inhaling slowly to build momentum.
  • Draw vapor up from the downstem and chamber.
  • Increase inhale speed to fill lungs with vapor.

Clear the Chamber

  • Inhale fully to clear all vapor from the bong chamber.
  • Aim to rip the entire bowl/bong in one hit.

Pull Away and Exhale

  • Pull away from the mouthpiece and exhale fully.
  • Coughing is common, especially for first-timers.

Pass the Bong

  • Optionally pass the bong to friends for round two.
  • Make sure to clean thoroughly between uses.

Tips for a Smooth Bonging Experience

Follow these tips to get the most out of a bonging session:

  • Start with smaller hits to avoid coughing fits. Work up to bigger rips.
  • Keep the water level optimal – too high and you’ll get splashed, too low provides less filtration.
  • Change water regularly to keep things sanitary and filtered.
  • Clean the bong fully between uses to avoid mold or bacterial growth.
  • Hydrate with water before and after bonging to avoid dry throat and mouth.
  • Use ice cubes or frozen fruit to cool the vapor for smoother hits.
  • Grind up ice cubes in a blender for crushed ice that cools vapor rapidly.
  • Sit down during use to avoid spills or falls – bonging can cause lightheadedness.
  • Pair it with relaxing music, lights, or meditation for a chill experience.

Types of Bongs and Recommended Options

There are many styles of bongs available for those wanting to try bonging water. Here are some top options:

Basic Bongs

Simple, straight tube bongs with a single chamber are ideal for beginners. They provide reliable performance without complicated mechanisms. The Smojo Jo Bong is a top-rated basic model.


  • Simple to use
  • Affordable pricing
  • Easy to clean


  • Less filtration than more complex bongs

Percolator Bongs

Bongs with percolators have extra filtration chambers for smoothing vapor. There are many percolator styles like tree, inline, and honeycomb that diffuse water differently. A good starter percolator bong is the Grav Labs Helix Bong.


  • Cools and diffuses vapor well
  • Provides very smooth hits
  • Numerous percolator styles


  • Harder to clean thoroughly
  • Higher cost than basic bongs

Multi-Chamber Bongs

These bongs have two or more chambers to filter vapor through before inhalation. The chambers are separated by narrow slits that vapor bubbles through. A reputable multi-chamber bong is the Zob 18 Inch UFO Perc Bong.


  • Excellent cooling and diffusion
  • Filters vapor thoroughly
  • Fun to watch bubbles stack


  • Highest cost of any style
  • Difficult to clean

Smart Bongs

High-tech bongs include features like built-in lights, water level sensors, charging docks, and smartphone connectivity. The GRAV Helix Smart Bong is a top choice.


  • Fun modern features
  • Precise temperature control
  • Usage tracking options


  • Expensive
  • Battery life limitations
  • More parts to clean

For most, a simple beaker bong is a perfect start. Butadvanced types can create an enhanced bonging experience for enthusiasts.

How to Clean and Maintain a Bong Properly

To keep a bong functioning at its best, proper cleaning is crucial. Here is an effective cleaning process:

Disassemble All Parts

Take the bong out of water and remove any percolators, bowls, grommets, downstems etc. These should be cleaned separately.

Drain Water

Dump out any old water and residual liquid. Running warm water through the chambers helps rinse initial buildup.

Use Isopropyl Alcohol

Fill chambers with 91% isopropyl alcohol. Cover openings with palms and shake vigorously to scrub interior walls. The alcohol breaks down residue.

Rinse Thoroughly

Drain dirty alcohol and repeat rinsing chambers until clear water runs through. Be sure to rinse any parts soaked in alcohol too.

Optional Deep Clean

For an occasional deep clean, use bong cleaning solutions or a mix of coarse salt and alcohol to scrub. Rinse thoroughly after.

Let Air Dry

Allow all parts to air dry fully. Residue can reharden if any moisture remains.


Once fully dried, the bong can be reassembled. Add fresh water to the base and enjoy the restored function.

Regular cleaning protects bongs from buildup and bacteria for the best tasting hits. Changing water daily is also wise. With proper care, bongs can last for many years.

Health Considerations of Bong Use

While bonging plain water is unlikely to cause major health issues, using tobacco or cannabis in a bong has associated risks:

  • Lung irritation – Hot smoke passing through water still irritates lung tissue. Chronic irritation can cause bronchitis symptoms like chronic coughing or excess mucus.
  • Infection risk – Mold, fungi, and bacteria can grow in bong water or chambers and be inhaled if not cleaned properly. This could potentially lead to lung infections.
  • Suppressed immune system – Studies show that inhaling marijuana smoke can temporarily weaken immune function in the lungs, potentially increasing susceptibility to illness.
  • Harmful toxins – Carcinogens from combustion are filtered but not eliminated by water filtration. Long term use may increase cancer risk, especially in those already at risk.

Of course, these considerations do not apply to only inhaling water vapor. But those using bongs for cannabis or tobacco should be aware and use harm reduction practices like filtering smoke through water, cleaning regularly, and not sharing bongs.

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FAQs About Bonging and Water Pipes

What exactly is a bong or water pipe?

A bong is a filtration device used to smoke tobacco, cannabis, or other substances. It uses water to cool and filter inhalations. Bongs come in many styles but generally use water chambers, tubes, and a bowl that holds smoking material.

Why do people use bongs compared to other smoking methods?

Bongs are popular because the water filters out some tar and ash for a smoother hit. The water also helps cool the hot smoke, making it less irritating. Some users also enjoy the ritual of prepping and hitting a bong.

How is taking a bong hit different from other inhalation methods?

Inhaling from a bong requires more lung power than methods like pipes or joints. Bong chambers need to be cleared fully to prevent smoke escaping and being wasted. The large rips can lead to more coughing as well.

Does using a bong get you higher compared to other consumption methods?

Using a bong does not necessarily get you more intoxicated from cannabis. But some claim the large hits stun the lungs, allowing THC and other compounds to enter the bloodstream more rapidly. Results vary by the user and strain.

Is bonging or hitting a water pipe bad for your health?

Regular use has some associated health risks like lung irritation, infections, and elevated cancer risk. However, the water does filter out more tar than dry pipe methods. Using a bong occasionally likely poses only minor threats to health.

Can you smoke substances other than cannabis out of a bong?

Yes, bongs can be used to smoke many legal herbs like tobacco, damiana, and other blends. Some use bongs for DMT, an intense psychedelic. Always check herb legality and safety before bonging.


While bonging water may seem like just another viral internet fad, the concept has roots going back hundreds of years. Water pipes were originally a way to smoke plant medicines more smoothly. In modern times, they provide cannabis enthusiasts an elevated experience compared to other consumption formats.

The bonging trend gave this niche practice a resurgence in the mainstream. Millions who had never hit a bong before were exposed to the hydrosmoke technique for the first time. Though often treated as a joke online, using water filtration does provide genuine benefits – and an enjoyable activity for some.

Whether you want to master the art of bonging water or cannabis, understanding the practice and gear involved creates a more informed, safe experience. Always consume safely within your own limits.

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