Before anyone uses a hookah for the first time, they need to be familiar with the basic parts of a hookah.
And, by understanding what each part is and how it functions, they can improve the way they smoke their shisha and enjoy better, longer sessions.
Let’s dive into the world of the hookah so you can have the best possible hookah shisha smoking experience.
The hookah has 6 main parts. They are the bowl, tray, stem, base, hose, and grommet.
Each part has a different function, and each function is very important.
However, some functions are more essential than others. For example, the hookah stem, which connects all the parts of the hookah set up together, is the most important part of the hookah.
We’ll be looking at each of the hookah parts and their respective functions in more detail below.
Table of Contents
Each part and its functions
- Bowl – Also known as the shisha head or the hookah head, the bowl is one of the most significant parts of the hookah. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to properly use your water pipe. It’s designed to keep your shisha tobacco in place so you can smoke your pipe. Although most hookah bowls today are made out of clay, hookah bowls are made out of many kinds of materials, including metal, clay, and silicone. There’s a variety of styles of hookah bowls, including Egyptian clay bowls and Phunnel bowls.
- Tray – This part, too, is vital for your pipe. Responsible for protecting your surroundings and acting as a charcoal holder while you’re smoking shisha, the tray sits firmly beneath the hookah head on the hookah stem’s shaft. Like hookah bowls, hookah trays come in all shapes and designs, but they all share the same primary function: to prevent hookah coals from falling to the ground during your smoking session. Nowadays, you may see hookah trays that come with lifted carriers to prevent your hookah coals from blacking out and to help them breathe.
- Stem – The stem, which is the centerpiece of your hookah bong, is the most integral part of your hookah setup. After all, it connects all the parts together. It’s quite a complex part, consisting of many different ports, such as the bowl port, the hose port, and the purge valve port. There’s also the bottom shaft, which sits right on your hookah base. If you’ve ever wondered how hookahs can achieve that bubbling effect, the effect is actually the process of the generation of smoke out of the hose port and into the base.
- Base – The hookah base, also known as the hookah glass, hookah jar, and hookah vase, serves as the carrier of your shisha smoke and holds your hookah set up together. This part is essential for your water pipe since it carries the hookah tray, hookah stem, and hookah bowl upright. The base preserves smoke when it’s being generated, lets the smoke travel into the hose port, and allows the stem to filter out harmful substances.
- Hose – For obvious reasons, the hose is fairly easy to explain and understand. This is the part you inhale smoke from while holding it with your hands, and its main function is to allow your shisha smoke to transfer into your lungs. The hose port, located on the hookah stem, is what holds the hookah hose parts together. In today’s industry, you can find a wide range of hookah hoses, but usually, they’re made out of fabric and are included with most setups. Because traditional hookahs are non-washable, people typically replace their hookah hoses. Right now, the most popular hookah hose is the silicone hookah hose, which happens to be washable. The majority of modern hookahs include a silicone hose, while traditional ones have a non-washable hose.
- Grommet – As the final important piece for your hookah setup, the hookah grommet is designed to keep air tightly sealed and prevent air from entering your hookah bong. It also allows for the generation of smoke, which is transferred throughout your setup. The three types of grommets are the hookah hose gasket, the bowl gasket, and the hookah base gasket. The grommet needs to fit properly on the midsection of the hookah stem so that you can firmly hold the shaft into the glass base, prevent any unnecessary movements or accidents from occurring, and keep smoke from escaping.
How many types of hookahs are there?
Just as there are many types of hookah stems and hookah trays, there are also many types of hookahs.
Some of the most popular kinds of hookahs include the shisha pen and the traditional water pipe.
There are also modular tobacco systems and traditional hookahs that come with dishes for burning wood shavings.
Today, you’ll see water pipes, which can either be low-tech and simple or advanced and elaborate, in many different cultures.
Who invented the hookah?
The hookah, as we know it today, has a long history, dating back to the 15th century in India.
It all began when the British East India Company started exporting glass to the country and the Indian glass manufacturing industry began to blossom.
Soon, other neighboring cultures started to catch on, and it eventually spread to Iran.
There, people began using hookahs to smoke amaji, a strong but flavorless type of tobacco.
It was during the reign of the Ottoman Empire that the popularity of hookahs really began to soar. In fact, the Ottoman sultans insisted they have their portraits taken with their hookahs.
It didn’t take long for hookahs, which could often be seen at royal dinner parties and diplomatic meetings, to become something of a status symbol.
Today, smoking hookah is still a popular pastime, and people all over the world, including in Asia, Europe, and North America, enjoy smoking shisha.
Cultures where smoking hookah is common
Although people all over the world smoke hookah, smoking hookah is deeply rooted in a small number of cultural traditions.
These include Indian, Turkish, Persian, Egyptian, and other Middle Eastern cultures.
It’s often used as a bonding force for families, relatives, and friends, who like treating hookah as an entertaining social activity and a way to relax and decompress.
Is smoking hookah safer than smoking cigarettes?
Contrary to popular belief, the tobacco in a hookah pipe is no less toxic than that in a cigarette.
In fact, it’s been said that hookah smokers, on average, inhale more tobacco smoke than people who smoke cigarettes, thanks to the larger volume of smoke that hookah smokers inhale in a single session, which often lasts for as long as an hour.
Although studies regarding hookah smoking are in their infant stage, evidence has shown that hookah smoking poses a number of risks and dangers:
- Just like cigarette smoking, hookah smoking has been connected to heart disease, lung and oral cancers, and other illnesses.
- Hookah smoke contains many toxic compounds, including carbon monoxide, tar, carcinogens (cancer-causing substances), and heavy metals. Actually, hookah smokers are exposed to more smoke and carbon monoxide than cigarette smokers.
- The nicotine content in hookahs and cigarettes is roughly the same, meaning that hookah smokers are at risk of developing tobacco dependence.
- In hookah bars and cars, hookah pipes may not be properly cleaned and sanitized, so there’s the risk of spreading and catching infectious diseases.