Blowing Smoke O's.

I don’t smoke regularly. Actually, if I do, it is typically like one cigar a year, or thereabouts. But I have always wondered something about blowing smoke: How do you blow smoke O’s?

I don’t want to date myself again. But when I was quite small, there was this bill board of the Marlboro man blowing smoke O’s. I still wonder how they did that. But my question now is just how the average person can do it.


I don’t know about smoke Os, but I know how to blow donut bubbles in the water. It involves an initial exhale with the wide and then moving to a narrower more directed air stream. You kind of just need to get the feel. The way I was taught was to lay flat on the bottom of the pool so my mouth is facing the top, plug one nostril, and blow bubbles.

It sounds crazy, but I did learn quick with that method and maybe plugging one nostril would do it for you while you learn.

It is easier if you position your tongue correctly, but you can do little ones just with your mouth- try just making an O with your mouth and lightly tapping your cheek!

I used to love making big ones, then little ones right through the middle of them, as Gandalf…

I’m an ex-smoker, and I was really good at smoke rings.

There are two schools of smoke ring.

1 - The pussy method, as I refer to it. You don’t inhale, but with a mouth full of smoke, you sort of make like a fish, pursing your lips and squeezing in your cheeks a little and let the smoke pour past the lips.

1a - The, Look, I’m a Magician method. Like above, but you just leave your mouth alone and tap your cheek with your finger hard enough to force the smoke out.

B - The manly method. You do inhale, and on the exhale you utilize the old epiglottal stop, popping your windpipe open intermittantly and the smoke is regulated in pulses and comes out in nice rings. It’s hard to master.

A refinement on this approach: with a mouth full of smoke, make like a fish and just quickly push your tongue forward to the opening. You should get a decent-sized smoke ring.

For added fun, do it in front of a mirror or window, and watch the ring expand as it contacts the flat surface. Or, pop the little ones you make with the cheek-tapping method through it.

Jack Batty pretty much just wrote the definitive post on it. Very well done, my man.

Oh, and don’t forget “The Gandalf Method

I’ve been smoking for 30+ years and have never been able to make smoke O’s. Maybe my mouth isn’t “fishy” enough? It’s one of my great disappointments in life.

Lung smoke makes it harder. If you only fill up your mouth with smoke, you get thicker smoke and it’s easier to make rings.

The way I do it is I make the O shape with my lips and I silently say ‘uh’ at my throat.

It basically uses this muscle in your throat to make the O. This muscle seems to allow you to block air from coming out so you can build pressure, and when you relax it really quick, an O comes out. It seems like the same muscle that allows you to build pressure for a cough. Like if you were to try to hold in a cough, you’d try really hard to contract that muscle.

To really master this, you might want to study with these guys.

How can I learn this without smoking?

Weird. I never figured out how to whistle, but I figured out smoke rings the first few months that I was a smoker. And, apparently, a manly smoker at that, as the method I figured out was Jack Batty’s B method.

This post made me recall an ad I saw recently in an issue contained within the online archives of popular science magazine.

Can’t master the technique yourself? Simply construct one of these:

Nitpick: It was Camels, from their Times Square billboard.

I am not that old. And true, I am not too sure it was the Marlboro man (poss. in Chicago, when I was on vacation there c. age 10). I don’t usually reveal personal information on myself. But just to set the record straight, I was born in 1968 (which puts me solidly in the “Generation X” catagory interestingly). (Did you people really think I go back to 1944:eek:?) :slight_smile:

There was a smoke-ring blowing billboard in Boston circa 1970.