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Smoke Rings by Stephen Schwartz

Smoking was an activity or custom begun by the Hobbits (who referred to it as an 'art'). It consisted of inhaling the smoke of the burning leaves of a herb called Pipe-weed.

The first true Pipe-weed was cultivated around the year S.R. 1070 by Tobold Hornblower of Longbottom, although the Hobbits of Bree claimed to be the first to have smoked the herb. Smoking had spread from the Hobbits to Dwarves, Rangers, and Wizards.[1]


"I am in fact a Hobbit (in all but size). [...] I smoke a pipe..."
Letter 213
Tolkien lighting a pipe

Tolkien was an avid pipe smoker. He attributed his addiction to his childhood, when he watched Father Francis Xavier Morgan smoking his pipe in a specific location each time.[2]

People who had met Tolkien noticed that a pipe was almost always in his hand or mouth, often making difficult to understand his speech.[3]

Portrayal in adaptations

1995-8: Middle-earth Collectible Card Game:

The card "Smoke Rings" enables the player to re-use one of his discarded characters.[4]


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, "Prologue", "Concerning Pipe-weed"
  2. Humphrey Carpenter, J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography
  3. J.R.R. Tolkien Talks about the Discovery of Middle-earth, the Origins of Elvish by Richard Plotz, in Seventeen
  4. "Smoke Rings", (accessed 26 June 2012)