A tobacco pipe, often called simply a pipe, is a device specifically made to smoke tobacco. It comprises a chamber (the bowl) for the tobacco from which a thin hollow stem (shank) emerges, ending in a mouthpiece (the bit). Pipes can range from very simple machine-made briar models to highly prized hand-made artisanal implements made by renowned pipemakers, which are often very expensive collector's items. Pipe smoking is the oldest known traditional form of tobacco smoking.
Smoking pipes of various types have been used since ancient times. Herodotus described Scythians inhaling the fumes of burning leaves in 500 B.C.
Some Native American cultures smoke tobacco in ceremonial pipes, and have done so since long before the arrival of Europeans. For instance the Lakota people use a ceremonial pipe called čhaŋnúŋpa. Other American Indian cultures smoke tobacco socially. The tobacco plant is native to South America but spread into North America long before Europeans arrived. Tobacco was introduced to Europe from the Americas in the 16th century and spread around the world rapidly.
As tobacco was not introduced to the Old World until the 16th century, the older pipes outside of the Americas were usually used to smoke hashish, a rare and expensive substance outside areas of the Middle East, Central Asia and India, where it was then produced