Why is Hookah Seen As A Kids Toy In America?

I find it strange to think of a Hookah Pipe as something only kids and teens smoke from (That are 18 or over, of course :-p). In the eastern countries, where they origin Hookah smoking is enjoyed by families and individuals of all ages. Shisha tobacco is smoked in all flavors. Yet here in America Hookahs are often regarded as a beginners smoking tool, or that of some young person and is generally looked down upon by those who know little about smoking.

Hookah smoking has been a passion of mine for many years, and has continued to be my favorite source of peace and relaxation ever since I discovered the wonderful art of Hookah smoking. I also smoke cigars. I love a strong cigar with full flavor. They can be expensive, however.

Recently I’ve gotten into Tobacco Pipe’s. These are in NO WAY similar to a Hookah. I’ve read a lot on the Pipe smoking community, and I’ve found it somewhat funny of the “Sophisticated” life these guys portray in their articles about the life and leisure of Pipe Smoking. Yet, many of their tobacco’s come in all sorts of flavors, almost as many as Hookah’s tobacco, known as “Shisha” has. Yet Hookah’s are often considered to be for the younger men & women, or seen as not a “real man”‘s smoking hobby because of this. Time and time again I see them picked on because of their fruitful flavors (they have traditional Shisha as well).

Somehow pipes go unscathed because of their arrays of flavors, yet Shisha is heavily looked down upon by those who are unfamiliar with it.

Recently I have attempted to seek out some hookah lounges here in the south, through forum pages I’ve gotten a few leads, and a handful of il remarks (mostly from none smokers, of course). Some seem to know about hookahs but have never tried them due to the whole young collegeboy image they have here. I cannot understand as to why they have this image in America. The Wiki has this to say about their History and Origin:


The Hookah was invented in India in the court of the Mughal emperor Akbar (1542 – 1605 AD).[11][12][13] Following the European introduction of tobacco to India, Hakim Abul Fateh Gilani a descendant of Abdul Qadir Al-Gilani came from Baghdad to India who was later a physician in the court of Mughal raised concerns after smoking tobacco became popular among Indian noblemen, and subsequently envisaged a system which allowed smoke to be passed through water in order to be ‘purified’.[11] Gilani introduced the hookah after Asad Beg, then ambassador of Bijapur, encouraged Akbar to take up smoking.[11] Following popularity among noblemen, this new device for smoking soon became a status symbol for the Indian aristocracy and gentry.[11][13]


It’s said that the Arab Nation has the largest hookah smoking community, it’s been said that there are hookahs for rent in virtually every cafe there, and no matter where you look, you’ll likely see someone smoking a hookah, most are older men & women, middle aged folk, and all those in-between.. With friends, family members, social gatherings, and just for everyday use. So why is it that here in america the only place we see them is in the young crowded nighclubs and bars? Perhaps it’s the unfamiliarity that Hookahs suffer from here, which makes them unknown to the majority of adults. And the unfamiliarity most americans have with them.

Often times I find MANY people mistakenly referring to them as “bongs”, I’ve even seen several hollywood movies who refered to them as such, and never corrected themselves. WHAT AN INSULT! I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

I’ve recently tried smoking a Pipe, and it has not worked out for me, and while  I enjoy smoking Cigars, they are far too much trouble for me. Buying less expensive cigars has yielded horrible and unpleasant results, while most shisha always yields the same pleasant smoking experience.

If you’re considering trying Shisha, smoked through a Hookah, consider these reasons for choosing Hookah over Cigars and/or Tobacco Pipes:

Why Choose Hookah?

1) Cheap cigars will often break, become torn or even arrive torn when removed out of the box, when the cigar is cut, or smoked more than half way. Sometimes you will get nasty bits of tobacco on your lips and tung that you will find yourself constantly picking at and removing.

*Shisha of any brand and price will smoke pretty much the same. The only difference you will experience is the boldness of the flavors, and how quickly the Shisha will dry out.

2) Cigars are expensive! Expect to pay $50.00-$300.00 for a box of 20 or 25 cigars for MOST decent smoking cigars. Now there are cheaper boxes, and sets of 5 cigars. But if you like a good long smoke, and smoke often, you’re still only getting a few days worth of smoke. A small box of 125g of shish will provide 1-2 weeks worth of 1-4 hour smoking sessions. Now imagine if you only smoke cigars for 30-60 minutes, you’d be doubling that amount in Shisha smoking time. Meaning your shisha may last even longer.

*Shisha comes in MANY different brands. The more expensive brands, Like Al Fakher sells for $19.00 for 125g of Shisha, and smokes fantastically (My favorite), While the cheapest Shisha can go for as little as $1.99, and still smoke as good, and about as long. The difference is the cheaper stuff will likely burn more easily (Putting off a burnt flavor), but is easily avoidable through properly setting up your shisha bowl.

3) Cigars often go out after a few minutes of setting it aside while you rest, read or simply relax.

*Shisha smoked from  a Hookah is kept sealed inside aluminum foil, with a burning coal placed on top. The foil keeps the Shisha from burning, while maintaining it at perfect temperature. The hookah stays warm and ready to smoke while you take your time. Shisha sessions often extend 1 hour, and can be enjoyed constantly even after taking a short break without having to constantly fiddle and relight your smoke. I often find myself watching several movies on a 1 to 2 bowels. Each bowl holds approx. 25g of Shisha.

Although not advised: You can sometimes even use a single bowl twice, as long as it’s only a few hours old, sometimes as much as 1 day old depending on how moist the Shisha is

4) Cigars are said to contain 10x’s the nicotine as cigarettes.

*Shisha contains 0% tar, and 0.4% Nicotine in a 124g jug. That is less than half a single cigarette in approx 4 bowls, or 4 hours of Hookah smoking. Shisha contains NO tar, and no chemicals

5) Cigars often have different draw strengths (The amount of effort it will take to get any smoke out of your cigar). Some smoke easily, others take a lot of effort and cutting practice to get a pleasant draw.

*Shisha is smoked through a hose, there is never any effort needed, no fiddling, no need to cut.

In regard to pipes:

1) Pipes can produce “Tung Bite”. This is when the pipe is heated up to such a degree that the airflow becomes very hot, either from smoking too quickly, or taking too long of a draw. When the hot smoke reaches your mouth, you get a burning sensation.

*Shisha on a Hookah is kept in a bowl on the head of the Hookah, and is cool-filtered through a water system (water bowl) at the bottom, the air circulates, and then is pulled through a hose, your mouth never touches any tobacco, and the air is never scolding hot since the tobacco is kept well away from the smoking end. This is maintained at a constant rate, no matter how often, or how long of draws you take. You are free to go all out puffing away, or take 10-15 minute breaks in-between. Whereas with pipe smoking, you are restricted to light, small draws and often are required to keep a constant paced puff to keep from relighting your pipe.

2) Pipe Tobacco is very moist, producing a wet smoke. Sometimes to the degree that you will get nasty tar residue in your mouth, and on your lips. If done to a certain extent you may find yourself tasting and smelling it on you for hours, even a day or more.

*Shisha tobacco is often saturated in syrup of some sort. Or honey for flavor and to help prevent burning of the tobacco. From your bowl the smoke is carried down through a long shaft that is covered 0.5-1.0″ in water, into a water vase, this vase captures any unpleasant residue and tobacco moisture in the water reserve before it ever has a chance to go up through the hose.

3)Pipe Tobacco comes in hundreds of flavors and mixes, what can Shisha, or hookah tobacco possibly offer me?

*There are hundreds of Shisha makers out there. Most come from the Eastern and Mid-Eastern countries. Each produce MANY pleasant flavors. Ranging from traditional Tobacco flavor, Molasses, to Kiwi, Strawberry, Strawberry Kiwi, Banana, Margarita, Apple, Sweet Apple, and many more.

*The water bowl, or vase can be filled with water half way, and have any flavor you like added to it, to create a custom smoking experience. For example: I fill my vase with water, empty out just enough, then mix in some Bourbon, Whisky, Or other alcohol to get liquor flavored smoke. You make also try adding skittles, or other juices as well! Mix and match shisha through divided bowls:

Or divide them through 2-4 bowl mixes:

You are only limited by your imagination! Hookah’s are quick and easy to clean out. After any smoking session it’s a good idea to rinse out the bowl, clean out the shafts using a hookah cleaning brush, and rinse out the water vase. The vase is especially important to clean out to remove and residue and tobacco debris. This is especially important if you added any flavors to your water such as candy, juices or liquor.

This is all for now, I hope you enjoyed some of information regarding Hookah smoking. And if you are like me, who loves his Hookah, but also enjoy cigars and Pipes, or perhaps you enjoy cigars, and pipe smoking and are just unsure as to why you should bother with a Hookah, I hope the points I made will drive you to at least give one a shot! I’ve enjoyed hookah smoking for more than 2 years, I find it the most relaxing and enjoyable time of my day.


~ by katsumi1980 on December 11, 2009.

4 Responses to “Why is Hookah Seen As A Kids Toy In America?”

  1. One comment I found to be very amusing was something a man mentioned while traveling to Saudi Arabia:

    “While not a fan of Hookah myself, I’ve heard many Arabs state: “I would rather be deprived of my dinner, than to be deprived of my Hookah”.

    Source Unknown. It’s also worth mentioning that “Hookah” are also sometimes referred to as “Shisha”(s). For instance if you go to your local Eastern Grocery store (Every state, most cities have them), the guy at the counter will often call their Hookah’s “Shisha’s”. Whereas we here are more used to the Tobacco used in them as “Shisha”. This is something that varies in the Eastern and mid-east countries.

  2. you may want to try some of my favorite mixes in the water. I often mix Bourbon, whisky, Vodka, or rum in mine. Love it!

  3. I believe the recent demonizing portray of Hookahs stem from the sudden popularity of hookahs in the College world. I guess since they demonize all forms of smoking, from cigarettes to cigars and pipes, it was only a matter of time before they began attacking hookah smoking. *sigh*

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