B2B Wholesaler Magazine


The hoopla surrounding hookahs is real, and smoke shops and other retailers are making more money than ever before selling the popular pipes and accessories.

Hookahs, of course, are water pipes that are used to smoke specially-made tobacco that comes in a wide variety of flavors, such as apple, mint, cherry, chocolate, coconut, licorice, cappuccino, and watermelon.

Hookahs, single- or multi-stemmed instruments for heating or vaporizing and then smoking, go back centuries. They began in India and spread to Turkey during the 17th century. Years later, they were adopted in Iran and across the Arab world. Hookahs, also called narghile, argileh, shisha, hubble-bubble, and goza, vary in size, shape, and style.

In general, the pipes work by sending charcoal-heated air through the tobacco mixture and a water-filled chamber. The user then inhales the smoke through a tube and mouthpiece. The purpose of using a hookah is to inhale the smoke from flavored tobacco, which can then be filtered out through water. They are used in a variety of ways, including smoking tobacco, drinking alcohol or consuming cannabis.

The parts of a hookah are:

BODY: A hollow metal tube connected to the head and submerged in the water inside the bowl. The body seals the opening of the water bowl.

HEAD: A small clay bowl in which the moist tobacco is stored and heated by a burning charcoal above it. The clay head has holes in the bottom, allowing smoke to pass into the body’s central conduit.

WATER BOWL: Usually a glass bowl filled halfway with water, in which the body is submerged. The top of the water bowl is sealed by a gasket attached to the body. The water cools and humidifies the smoke coming from the body. Other liquids like fruit juice are sometimes added to the water or used as a substitute.

HOSE: A flexible, slender tube that allows smoke to be drawn from the top of the water bowl.

A Soothing, Meditative Experience

Many of those who enjoy hookah say that it has a calming effect on the body and mind, making it a relaxing way to unwind after a pressure-filled day. They note that the very act of smoking itself can provide a soothing and meditative experience that includes a sensation of comfort and familiarity.

In some parts of the world, smoking hookah is believed to offer therapeutic benefits. Traditional herbal blends have at times been used to help provide relief from particular ailments or promote relaxation and overall well-being.

Hookah smoking is typically done in groups, with a single mouthpiece passed around from person to person. Newer forms of electronic hookah products, including steam stones and hookah pens, have been introduced. These products are battery powered and turn liquid containing nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals into an aerosol, which is inhaled.

Hookahs are not designed for marijuana or other types of substances; thus, smoking them through a hookah will not produce a high. At the same time, the tobacco in a hookah can give the user a mild buzz, leaving them feeling lightheaded, relaxed, dizzy, or wobbly.

How long a hookah will last depends on a variety of factors, including the components being used, how the bowls are packed, the amount of heat being applied and personal preferences. On average, a hookah can last between 45 and 80 minutes.

Across the Middle East and Asia, hookah smoking has become embedded in several cultures to the point of becoming a prominent part of in social gatherings. Hookah lounges, not unlike cigar lounges, became increasingly popular largely as a social activity that brings people together. The lounges provide a singular and relaxing atmosphere that many find enjoyable. Those with Middle Eastern or South Asian backgrounds find in them a reminder of their cultural heritage.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cited research from Monitoring the Future that showed variations in hookah use by U.S. region and population density. In 2018, the highest prevalence of use was observed in the Northeast, where one in six (15%) young adults ages 19 to 30 said they had used a hookah to smoke tobacco during the previous year. In very large cities, almost one in five (19.3%) young adults in this age group reported past year use. “Other small studies of young adults have found high prevalence of hookah use among college students in the United States. These studies show past-year use ranging from 22% to 40%.”

More modern forms of electronic hookah products, including steam stones and hookah pens, are also gaining in popularity. They are battery-powered and turn liquid containing nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals into an aerosol, which is inhaled. Marketing programs that highlight these and other factors – its flavors, relaxing quality and rich cultural heritage – have proven successful.