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Hookah For The Novice

Everyone was a novice at one point or another. Rather than blundering around and learning from your mistakes, I have compiled a bit of information that may lead to a better enjoyment your first time.

The Hookah’s origin traces back to India. It became known in the current form we know today around the 15th Century when Indian Glass manufacturing came into being as a result of the exporting of glass to India through the British East India Company. The glass base was called Shisha and the hookah is also known as a narghile, shisha or goza.

How a Hookah Works:

When you inhale the smoke from the hose, there is change in pressure in the jar, below. The resulting change in pressure, is the air is sucked into the bowl containing the charcoal and the tobacco, above.

The charcoal heats the air , and in turn the heated air evaporates (not burns) the tobacco, producing smoke. The smoke then passes through the body tube and exits into the water in the jar, below.

The heated air bubbles up through the water, losing its heat and now, fills the top part of the jar, where the hose is attached. There is again change in pressure in the jar when  you inhale from the hose, pulling air through the charcoal, continuing the process.


How To Set Up A Hookah:

Clean the hookah: Wash the hookah with water and a soft brush before using it for the first time, and whenever it gets dirty. Disconnect all parts first, and wash every one except the hoses; assume these are not water-safe unless labeled otherwise.Wipe it dry with a towel and leave it to air dry before you continue.

Pour cold water into the jar: This is the large glass container at the base of the hookah. Fill it enough to cover 1 inch (2.5 cm) of the metal stem, or slightly more. Leaving space for air is important to dilute the smoke and make it easy to draw on the hose. If you have a mini hookah, you may only be able to cover ½ inch (1.25cm) of the stem to leave room for air and avoid soaking the hoses.

Add ice, this is optional: Although hookah smoke, properly drawn, is not harsh at all, a nice cool temperature will make it even more pleasurable. You may need to pour out some of the water to adjust it to the correct level, as described above.

Attach the hookah shaft into the glass base: Lower the shaft into the base, so the stem enters the water. There should be a silicone or rubber piece that fits around the top of the base to make it airtight. If the fit isn’t airtight, the smoke will be thin and difficult to pull.
Connect the hoses: The hoses slot into holes on the side of the shaft. Just like the base, these holes should be airtight fits. Some hookahs seal the hole if there is no hose attached. On other models, you’ll need to attach all the hoses even if you’re smoking alone.
Check for air flow: Place your hand on top of the hookah stem to block air from entering the hookah. Try to inhale through a hose. If you can get any air, one of the connections is not airtight. Check them all for tight fits and rubber or silicone seals.
Place the metal tray on top of the hookah shaft. This tray catches hot embers and excess tobacco if and when they fall.
Stir the tobacco. Shisha is just tobacco packed in liquids that add flavor and thick smoke. These liquids tend to settle to the bottom, so give it a quick stir to spread them around.
Position the metal tray on top of the hookah shaft. This tray catches hot embers and excess tobacco if and when they fall.
Happy Hookah!!
The Smoking Ship’s Entertainment Coordinator.