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Hookah dates back to the 17th century and became popular in India, the Middle East, and many parts of Asia.
Smoking hookah is a great way to unwind and socialize with loved ones, making it popular with young people. Perhaps you’re eager to try smoking hookah but you’re not sure where to begin.
Sounds familiar? Luckily, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s our beginner’s guide to smoking hookah.
What Is Hookah?
Before you start browsing hookah pipes, it’s important to know what we mean by the term. Traditional hookahs are water pipes used to inhale straight tobacco or tobacco infused with fruit extract. Hookahs are popular for recreational smoking but have different names throughout the world.
For instance, the term hookah pipe is used in India whereas Turkish water pipes are called nargiles. And you may have heard of shisha, an Arabic term associated with smoking water pipes.
The Anatomy of a Hookah
No beginner’s smoking guide is complete without breaking down the hookah pipe’s anatomy. Hookahs are often handcrafted and covered in intricate designs which makes each one unique. You can also choose between different sizes and materials to suit your needs.
Every hookah pipe has a bowl where the tobacco is placed and it’s made from stainless steel, ceramic, or clay. You must also insert a tray directly beneath the hookah to catch any loose ash that falls from the burning tobacco or coals.
The most important part of the hookah is the centerpiece, also known as the stem because it connects and holds the pipe together. This piece is often made from copper, aluminum, or brass. Further, the vase is the water chamber that filters the tobacco smoke before you inhale through the hose. It’s often made from glass or acrylic.
Water is key for smoking hookah because it cools the smoke and stops it from getting too hot, too quickly. Make sure the water is an inch higher than the end of the hookah hose, the tube where the smoke travels through before it’s inhaled.
You’ll also need hookah coals, tongs to handle them, and hookah foil as it separates the tobacco from the coil. And, depending on how many people are smoking, get mouth tips so each individual can have their own.
Setting Up a Hookah
Not sure how to set up your pipe? Don’t worry, our hookah guide will cover that.
We’ve covered the hookah for beginners so you know what component does. To set up, put your coals on the burner so they’re hot by the time you pack the bowl. Next, fill the water vase so that the end of the stem is submerged.
Pack the bowl with tobacco but don’t overdo it otherwise it’ll be harder to pull. Cover your bowl with two sheets of foil then poke holes along the circumference so you get good airflow. It’s best to use a needle, pin, or toothpick so they aren’t too big.
Before you smoke, make sure the coals are hot then place them, using tongs, so they sit over the bowl. Aim to space them out especially around the edge. Note that every part should be properly connected and the smoke should be easy to inhale.
Test the draw until you’re happy and then enjoy!
How to Smoke a Hookah
Slip your mouthpiece on when it’s your turn and inhale. Draw the smoke lightly and take breaks in between puffs otherwise you’ll become lightheaded. Note that you can’t smoke at the same time as your friend because it’ll overheat the coals and neither of you will get a good pull.
Take around three puffs and then pass it along. Not only does it stop the tobacco burning faster but you want to spread the love so everyone can enjoy the experience. Once you’re comfortable smoking a hookah pipe, experiment with different flavors like mint, strawberry, and apple.
You can also impress your friends with smoke tricks. A popular one is blowing smoke rings where you take a long draw of the pipe but don’t inhale so you get a thicker ring. Then, with your lips shut, shift your tongue back and push it against the bottom of your mouth.
Next, open your mouth so it forms an ‘o’ shape and click your lower jaw forward so you produce several smoke rings.
How to Clean Your Hookah
First, clean the stem by running hot water through it. Take a stem brush and move it back and forth until the entire length is clean. You can also clean the vase with hot water but dry the hookah pipe properly otherwise the water vapor may cause mold.
Note that most hookah hoses aren’t washable so don’t run water through them because there’s a metal coil that could rust. Instead, hang the hose in a cool, dry area. But if your hose is advertised as washable, because of the plastic tubing, then simply rinse them out with hot water.
Make sure you rinse the bowl straight after use otherwise it’ll be covered in black stains which is difficult to remove if it’s been left for a long period.
That’s Our Guide to Smoking Hookah
Hopefully, you now know how to buy, smoke, and clean your hookah pipe.
Familiarize yourself with the different components and practice putting them together before having a smoke session. Invite your friends over, hand out mouthpieces, and show off your smoke ring skills. And don’t forget to thoroughly clean your hookah pipe after each smoking session to extend its life span. Enjoy!
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