As a former pipe smoker, I wonder when Bing quit smoking? Is there any infomation concerning why he quit? Did he smoke cigarettes concurrently with his pipe smoking, or did have alternating periods? Which blends of tobacco did he prefer? Did he smoke cigars to any extent? I thought the pipe smoking enhanced Bing's relaxed personna. In fact, I think that relaxed, contemplative aspect of pipe smoking is what appealed to me. Since I quit smoking about six years ago, I have not seen many pipe smokers in public. The main thing that bothered me about pipe smoking is the development of irritated mucous glands in the roof of my mouth...othewise, I loved smoking a pipe, as compared with cigarettes and cigars. I have a page about Bing's old pipe smoking radio sidekick...Bob Burns. Check it out. http://www.angelfire.com/de/classicalstories
Posted by Greg Van Beek on April 19, 1998 at 13:41:03:
In Reply to: Pipe smoking Bing posted by Ralph Laswell on April 19, 1998 at 10:19:41:
Bing stopped smoking altogether in January 1974 after he had an abcess the size of an orange removed from one of his lungs (along with a good portion of the lung itself). It was a non-cancerous fungus that attached itself to the lung. Bing tried smoking after the surgery, but found it tasted bad to him and just quit. He said at the time that he "got tired of carrying all the equipment around- pipe, cleaners, tobacco pouch, matches, etc.)
Bing did smoke cigarettes on occasion, but I don't believe he smoked cigars very often (if ever). When Bing was smoking, he always carried wood matches with him, and would light the match using his thumbnail. You can see him doing this on several of his movies, most notably "White Christmas". Naturally, Bing's chosen brand of cigarette was Chesterfield, his sponsor! I believe he smoked Velvet pipe tobacco.
Nat King Cole maintained that his smoking gave his voice that distinct rich, smooth sound and said if he ever quit smoking he'd be out of a job. Sadly, this habit cost him his life at age 45.