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Though first hookahs appeared more than 5 centuries ago, they have acquired vogue in Europe and American continent only these days. No doubts, that this ancient kind of relaxation has its own unique fascination. Maybe that is why it attracts so many people all over the world , who find it to be a perfect way of taking mind off daily routine. Mysterious atmosphere, which takes you away from loud voices and vanity of the streets, cozy ottomans, sheer canopies and, of course, flavoured tobacco, that exceeds your smoking satisfaction, make hookah smoking one of the most fashionable trends of nowadays.

By reading this article you are invited to discover new facts regarding hookah history, steps on its assembling and proper preparation.

The first hookahs probably come from India which is also where the term “hookah” come from. The initial hookahs were very simple. They were usually of a coconut shell and a tube leading through one hole in the nut shell. Opium and hashish were primarily meant to be the filling for these hookahs. Later, hookah served for smoking of pure wet tobacco. Burning charcoals used to be put directly on the tobacco (no foil or metal grid were used).

Hookahs gained their contemporary shape about 500 ago in Turkey. A hose and a vase were added. Hookahs spread gradually to Lebanon and Syria where another famous term for it comes from – a narghile. Once it got on African continent (Egypt, Morocco), the last of the three most famous terms for smoking water pipe emerged – a shisha. Already 300 years ago hookahs were a favourite attraction in Turkish “coffee rooms”. In many Arabian countries, hookahs have been designated for men’s society only. Wider penetration of hookahs to American and European markets occurred considerably later, about 50 years ago. Present hookahs look like the Turkish models 500 years ago more or less. The range of fillings has been considerably widened though; thus a plenty of tobacco brands and flavours are available these days.

When smoking hookah you must follow few easy rules. It is better to smoke hookah after food intake in calm and comfortable atmosphere. To smoke hookah is preferably while seating on a small height: ottoman, cushion, low love seat or in reclining posture. While smoking hookah must obligatory stay on the floor. It is not recommended to smoke hookah in aggregate with alcohol otherwise effect can be unpleasant and unexpected. As beverage during hookah smoking fits better green tea. Also it is not recommended to pour in hookah strong alcohol. Additional aroma can be reached when adding wine. But this wine cannot be drunk after in no case - harmful impurities accumulate in it that will cause intoxication.

How water pipe works?


1. The bowl.

Also known as the head of the hookah, the bowl is a container, usually made out of clay or marble, that holds the tobacco during the smoking session.

2. Hose.

The hose is a slender tube that allows the smoke to be drawn.

3. Body. 4. Gasket. 5. Valve.

The body of the hookah is a hollow tube with a gasket at its bottom. The gasket itself has at least one more opening for the hose. The gasket itself seals the connection of the body of the hookah with the water jar. The gasket may have one more opening with a valve in it for clearing the smoke from the water jar not via the hose.

6. Water jar.

Placed at the bottom of the hookah, the water jar is a container which the smoke from the tobacco passes through before it reaches the hose. By passing through water, the smoke gains moisture. This makes inhaling the smoke of the hookah easier than a cigarette’s. Also the water jar allegedly functions as a filter for the smoke. The level of the water has to be higher than the lowest point of the body’s tube in order for the smoke to pass through it. Liquids other than water may be added, such as a strong mixture of alcohol and/or fruit juice.

7. The plate.

The plate is usually just below the bowl and is used for “dead” coals from previous smoking sessions. It is not vital for the operation of the hookah.

Hookah assembling.

To assemble hookah and to prepare it for using is very easy. You will master this simple mastery within minutes and will be able to assemble correctly and to smoke correctly hookah. Place in the cup small quantity of unfolded tobacco leafs in order to remain till the edges not less than half of centimetres. Tobacco lays not tightly, even freely in order the air freely go between leafs, will be smoked better! Tightly cover and warp the cup with small piece of foil. Between the foil and tobacco leave a small space, don't press tightly. Otherwise tobacco can catch fire but smoke acquires unpleasant, bitter flavour. If it happens than try to move carbon on cup's side to reduce tobacco heating. Now take any thin sharp object, for example knife or toothpick and prick orifices or make thin and short cuts on the entire foil's surface that is placed above tobacco. Pour cold water in the flask in such a way in order pipe is submerged in water for 3-5 centimetres. Much deeper submersion will complicate smoke inhaling but less water quantity will not provide enough filtration and smoke moistening. Instead of water you can use wine or champagne, it will strengthen intoxicating effect from hookah smoking.

Try milk with strawberry tobacco, it is also interesting.

If the bottom part of hookah is made of glass than the top part is tightly inserted in the bottom one with use of pressurizing rubber ring. In case the bottom part of hookah is made of metal - the top part is usually screwed along the thread. After assembling two main parts, hose with sealant is inserted (hermetical padding). If sealant is absent you can use a band of paper serviette, toilette paper or usual paper, wrapping it round the nozzle of the hose. After assembling hookah, check its hermiticity! For this purpose cover with the palm the top part of hookah and try to draw the air from mouthpiece. Air mustn't be drawn easily, without any efforts with typical water gurgling. Than try to draw the air, closing the orifice for smoke in the top part of hookah with a finger. If you don't manage to draw the air even with effort - everything is ok, if the air gradually draws in - check the junction's of two hookah's part hermeticity and hose's joining is necessary. If hookah has release valve you must check its work as well - when attempting to breathe the air out in hookah, the valve must open and air must go out through it. Inflame the carbon. If you don't have special turbo-lighter for hookah carbon, carbon can be lighted over gas fryer or burner. When using quickly inflammable carbon in pills, wait till it gets burned on all sides, will not stop to shoot sparks and exude acrid smoke. If the carbon is usual, wait till it reddens on all the sides. Be vigilant! Pill after burning is very hot and it can be of black colour and look like a cold one. During burning quite acrid smoke is exuded. By no way try to inhale from the mouthpiece at this time!!! While burning sparks can break off that is why if there is hood guard in the delivery set, immediately after lighting the carbon put on the hood on the hookah. After complete burning of the carbon and after the acrid smoke has stopped to exude, wait 10-15 seconds before making first inhaling. Carbon that is ready for use has even color depending on its sort it can be grey, red or even silver.

Place the carbon on foil, it is better to place carbon on the middle and cover the hookah with hood if you have it. You can draw it!!! In couple of minutes when tobacco will heat you can move the carbons aside in order tobacco not to get burnt and acrid smoke will not start to be exuded. It is important to put tobacco in the ling correctly - fir this it is necessary to steam out the tobacco leafs and put them randomly.

A hill of such tobacco is called "free tobacco". In such form it will burn evenly, smoothly and will give much qualitative, saturated smoke. During inexperienced use of hookah during smoking smoke often acquires bitter flavour, throat begins to tickle. Smoke is not plentiful. The main reason of such effect is leakage. It is necessary to check carefully all the junctions, especially hose joining to hookah. Also it is necessary to check if carbon doesn't touch tobacco. Above the tobacco should be placed piece of foil with orifices but carbon - on foil. If during smoking you have to inhale with big efforts, it is necessary, firstly to check the water level. Hose that sticks out the top part of hookah should be submerged in water not more than on 2-5 centimetres. If water level is normal check the flexible hose itself. Fresh tobacco is very wet and sticky, from it often escapes liquid that is why it is packed in polyethylene and only than in cardboard. Also tobacco is packed in glass, plastic and tin jars what is much preferable.

Black, not-aromatized tobacco sorts are often packed in paper. Such tobacco is inherently much dryer and during long-term storage it dries up completely, what of course affects the smoking quality. After opening the pressurized package with tobacco, it is recommended in order to keep the flavour to store tobacco in tied plastic bag or to move it to leakproof package.

Storage and maintenance.

Hookah doesn't require especially difficult care. Water in flask can be changed each time or when changing tobacco sort but not rarer than once in 10 times of smoking. Smoked tobacco is thrown after the cup cools down. When changing water it is desirable to change the flask - for this any kitchen brush will fit.

The top part of hookah it is desirable to wash after each change of tobacco sort or not rarer than once in 10-15 times of smoking. For washing the top part a special brush is necessary - long (up to one meter) and with short bristle (0.5-1.5 centimetres). If you don't have such brush you can limit to wash of the top part with water. When cleaning hookah it is strictly not recommended to use detergents. Hoses also can be washed with water but the less the better. It is better not to wash with water hoses made of natural leather. After washing the hookah dry it from the outside in order not to oxidise.

It is recommended to store hookah in disassembled condition, but as many people prefer to store hookah in assembled condition we can recommend to remove at least its hose. Almost all hoses are made on framework bases made of metal spring. This spring has property to rust that is why it is desirable to remove hose from the hookah. For carrying purposes it is better to take hookah holding the flask.

Small or large hookahs?

Now lets clarify the difference between small and large hookahs. One cannot be that straightforward in choosing which is better, as each one has its own privilege and shortcomings. Small hookahs have several advantages. They’re very compact; their little size makes them easily portable wherever you go. They’re also obviously more affordable in terms of money. However, the smoking experience from such a hookah does not reach the top quality. The glass vase can take only small amount of water which does not chill the smoke as much as proper big glass vase. On the contrary, for often and easy travelling big robust hookahs are not particularly suitable. Little hookahs can also be recommended to beginners. With such a shisha they can properly learn prepare and handle a hookah. After certain experience, every hookah adorer does recognize that the time has come to upgrade the equipment and purchase a new and likely bigger hookah for better smoking experience. To make the current small hookahs owner calm we should say in the end that with a proper preparation, choice of good charcoals and sensitive tobacco mix, the smoking experience even from a small hookah can be a real pleasure.

So, we hope that this article appeared to be useful for our readers, and gave them some tips on hookah assembling, tobacco selection and preparation, as well as other interesting facts regarding hookah smoking.

Enjoy your smoking!