What Is Hookah?

Hookah Defined

Hookah Definition

What is hookah you ask? A hookah is a water pipe designed to smoke sweetened & flavoured tobacco or herbal molasses. The hookah pipe has an origin from the Middle Eastern and Persian peninsula that dates back decades where smoking a hookah apparatus was considered as a sign of higher status. Dried and natural tobacco was commonly used up till the early 1900's where flavouring and molasses was introduced as an ingredient. What is a hookah pipe as we know it today is very popular in modern culture and is smoked in social scenes such as cafes, bars & clubs. Hookah tobacco commonly known as shisha now includes a variety of different flavours for each individuals liking. The most common flavours of shisha tobacco smoked globally are Double Apple & Grape shisha tobacco. There are various brands from different regions of the world that manufacture flavours for hookah tobacco smoking.

How To Use A Hookah

Using a hookah is a lot simpler than it seems. Many individuals may feel that setting up a hookah is difficult but in reality it is quite easy. To setup a hookah pipe you obviously needs hookah tobacco or shisha flavour to produce smoke along side hookah coals and water as your main ingredients. Below is a quick setup guide to pack your bowl. We will add some more in depth blog post for those who need a little more assistance.

Hookah Water Pipe Setup

  • 1) Pack the hookah bowl with shisha 
  • 2) Wrap your shisha bowl with tin foil & poke holes
  • 3) Add water to your hookah base
  • 4) Assemble the hookah pipe stem onto the water base
  • 5) Assemble bowl on the hookah stem
  • 6) Light up hookah coals and add on the packed shisha bowl
  • 7) Insert hose to hookah stem

Hookah Smoking Guides

Hookah Parts by Name

What is a shisha pipe as we know today uses various parts in order to function and produce hookah smoke. These parts are very important in order to get a hookah session going. Most hookah sets come with all parts required in order to get started. Below are the various hookah parts and hookah accessories that you should get to know before smoking.

Shisha Parts

  • - Hookah Stem - The main part of the traditional hookah which includes a chamber to create smoke. All parts are attached to the shisha stem.
  • - Hookah Base - The glass vase that holds water. The stem is attached directly on to the hookah base.
  • - Hookah Hose - The apparatus that is attached to the hookah stem in order to inhale smoke
  • - Hookah Bowl - Carries your shisha tobacco or molasses and is the main source of your flavouring & heat management
  • - Hookah Tongs - The apparatus used to carry and move hookah coals while lit
  • - Hookah Tray - A part which sits directly onto your hookah stem beneath the hookah bowl to prevent hookah charcoal from falling.
  • - Purge Ball - A ball bearing that sits into the purge valve which restricts air and helps produce smoke.

How Does A Hookah Work?

The way a hookah works is pretty direct. As mentioned previously, a hookah is used to smoke shisha which is produced in various flavours.  The hookah is what allows smoke to be produced using water and heat. The water inside of a hookah glass base is what filters and allows the smoke being produced to cool down. The bowl is what helps produce hookah smoke as glycerin mixed within the shisha tobacco inside of the hookah bowl is heated by using fully lit shisha coals placed atop. When inhaling through a hookah hose, smoke travels downward from the bowl through the stem and into the hookah base and then out into your hookah hose. This all happens throughout the hookah stem, as the chamber within the stem has a hose port to release smoke from the hookah base through and out of the hookah hose. It is that simple.

Origins Of The Hookah 

Hookah is believed to be traced back to India where it was used for medicinal use and was initially a one piece water pipe. It was then discovered in Middle Eastern regions through movement & trades of different tribes. Tobacco was introduced to the region in the 1600's therefore being the substance used to smoke hookah. Owning a hookah during these times was considered a luxury for those with wealth and was regarded as a status symbol.

Hookah Terms By Origin

What is hookah smoking known today is popular in various countries around the globe. The hobby continues to spread and is known in different terms by region. Below are the following terms of hookah by origin.

  • Middle East & Eastern Asia - Argilee, Argile, Narghile, Narguile, Nargile, Shisha, Sheesha, الشيشة, ارجيلة
  • South East Asia -  Huqqo, ‘haqqa, Jajeer, Hitboo
  • Spain, South & Central America - Cachimba
  • Eastern Europe & Russia - Qalyān
  • North America, UK & Australia - Hookah, Huka, Hooka, Hookah Bong, Water Pipe

Hookah Effects

Hookah smoking is common in social gatherings these days but what exactly are the effects of smoking a hookah bong? Well to make it short, hookah doesn't really have any major effects that will alter or distort you immediately unlike other social vices such as drinking or smoking marijuana. When it comes to smoking hookah, you might get a bit of a buzz from nicotine if the shisha you are using is includes it. By no means is hookah a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes however, just a bit more enjoyable. Smoking shisha can cause headaches if either the hookah water pipe being served is not prepared properly or if the the individual is not hydrated and has not eaten prior to smoking shisha. It is recommended that prior and during your smokes session that you snack on light foods and drink enough water. Another effect that hookah may have on you is if the charcoals are not properly lit which may cause C02 poisoning. Your hookah coals should always be lit completely till the point that they are amber in order to use a hookah properly. To learn more about preventing hookah sickness read our blog post on avoiding hookah sickness.

Hookah Vs Cigarettes

When it comes to comparing hookah smoking to cigarettes, there aren't really any solid studies that show if hookah is in fact more or less harmful than a cigarette. We all know that smoking is an unhealthy vice whether it be hookah or a cigarette but is hookah smoking healthier? From what we understand based on our general knowledge, hookah tobacco or shisha is generally a hand made product which includes less additives than a cigarette for instance. Hookah tobacco is commonly made up of four components which include natural raw tobacco, glycerin, food flavouring & honey. However in cigarettes there are close to 7000 chemicals that are combusted when smoking in which 69 of these are chemicals are linked to causing cancer. There have been arguments that have been made to where a comparison of  "1 hookah = how many cigarettes" but there is little knowledge or study to back up these claims. Hookah shisha is not combusted like a cigarette but is rather baked and filtered through water. To keep things simple, a little too much of anything is never great and we recommend you moderate smoking regardless whether it be cigarettes or hookah. Stay safe.

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