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I'm trying to translate this term from Chinese:

包口烟   bāo kǒu yān   [pau⁵⁵ kʰou̯⁵²³ i̯εn⁵⁵]

(名) 抽烟不吸进肺里。 ▷ 抽包口烟。
(n.) Mouthful of smoke that is not inhaled into the lungs. ▷ Smoke a bāo kǒu yān.

So a 包口烟 is basically what you draw into your mouth when you smoke without inhaling. It’s a mouthful of smoke that you blow out instead of letting it go into your lungs.

包口烟 is a noun describing the smoke itself; the verb 吸 or 抽 chōu is used to indicate the action, just like with the regular expression meaning ‘to smoke’: 吸烟 xī yān or 抽烟 chōu yān, literally ‘draw/pull smoke’. Here you just ‘draw/pull mouthful-of-non-inhaled-smoke’ instead.

Is there a noun that means mouthful of non-inhaled smoke in English? Or a verb that refers to drawing smoke from a cigarette (or similar) without letting it enter your lungs? Or a term for someone who smokes in this way, for that matter?

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    I would call them a non-inhaling smoker. I don't think that there is any other term that isn't ambiguous. – Mick Oct 26 '16 at 7:03
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    @Mick Oh yes there is: Bill Clinton's dictum - I didn't inhale! We won't go into his other, more infamous dictum on Monica's version of what transpired in the Oval Office. I have been very careful to avoid any typos with Oral Office. Easily done, innit? – Peter Point Oct 26 '16 at 8:46
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    @PeterPoint To Clinton, then. Sorted! – Mick Oct 26 '16 at 8:47
  • Ahhhh! You beat me to it! – Peter Point Oct 26 '16 at 8:50
  • Nice verbage: to Clinton! I guess we can always couple it with to do/to pull. – Mou某 Oct 26 '16 at 8:56
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I often hear this referred to as "puffing," as in "Puffing on a cigar," or "Puffing a cigar." However, "puffing" is still vague enough that it doesn't always convey that the smoke isn't being inhaled to the lungs. More often than not, it's just slang for smoking.

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I have heard "bum puffing" for this. Although that has a negative connotation, as in it is smoking 'for show' or not really smoking.

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  • Welcome to English Language & Usage! We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed. – NVZ Jan 9 '17 at 14:13

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