The Basics of Hooka Smoking

Hooka Smoking, Ghelyan, or narghile, is a Middle Eastern water pipe, commonly used to smoke Me’assel or Shisha, which is a type of flavored tobacco. Filtering it through a vase filled with liquid often cools the smoke. The liquid can range from ice water to milk, lemon juice or wine added to the water. Traditionally in the Middle East the tobacco is mixed with a sweetener, such as honey or molasses, sugar or dried fruits. Modern hookah smokers, especially in the US, smoke "me'assel" "moassel" "molasses" or "shisha" all names for the a wet tobacco mixture. This tobacco product comes in a variety of flavors from spicy to sweet.

Hooka Smoking is made of 5 to 6 components of which 4 are essential to hookah operation. These components are a bowl, hoses, stem, water jar, plate and windscreen, purge valve and grommets. The water jar or vase is often made of glass and this piece is filled with water, ice or the above flavoring liquids mentioned. Ice is often added because it creates a cool smoke. The stem is inserted into the jar/vase and the hoses are attached to the stem. A tray or plate is used to catch the ashes from the charcoal and a bowl made from clay, Pyrex or metal holds the shisha. The bowl is covered with foil and heated charcoals reside on top of the foil, which is pierced with holes. This is the general make up and assembly of a hookah.

The heat from the hot charcoals creates the smoke by heating the shisha. When a smoker inhales from a hose the smoke passes through the water creating a bubbling sound and then passes back up through the hose and to the smoker. Shisha smoke is said to be light and full flavored. The sensation of peace or relaxation is experienced creating a pleasant effect.

Hookah Smoking is an ancient cultural tradition from the Middle East that is spreading across the world. Hookas are smoked in the Arab world, Iran, Israel, India, Pakistan, Philippines, South Africa, United States and Canada. This smoking pipe has not changed for 500 years and is growing in popularity.

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