Hookahs | Ancient Device in Modern Society

John Guccione

Ancient Device in Modern Times Hookahs

This article is intended for adults aged 18 years or older.

Hookahs have been around for almost 500 years. It was thanks to the European introduction of tobacco to Persia and then to India in 1542, which made smoking tobacco popular among Indian noblemen. This resulted in the need for a device to consume the tobacco.  Therefore, the hookah also began to gain popularity.

As time went on, the use of tobacco and the hookah spread among classes and countries. From its origins in South Asia and the Middle East, to Southeast Asia and to South Africa, and now in modern times to the United States and Canada.

Yes, time has brought some evolution to the hookah device. However, the Hookah does remains very close to the designs first implemented in ancient models.

When comparing ancient hookahs to modern hookahs, there is no doubt that modern technology provides a more quality smoking experience. As today's Hookahs provide an air tight draw from the water vase and through the stem. This is due to modern grommets and rubber hoses which have replaced ancient tubes made of the bark of the white Himalayan birch trees. 

There have also been slight modifications more relative to the process of how a hookah is smoked. Where as, the process of how tobacco was gradually burned tobacco has been commonly replaced by vaporizing flavored shisha. Before we get into the modifications of the consumable products, it is worth touching on the addition of modern accessories, which help manage the slow burning process Where as, Heat management devices (HMD's) help achieve slowing down the burn of the tobacco or flavored shisha.   

There are few places in the world (rural South Asia and India where people continue to use Tumbak (the pure and coarse form of unflavored tobacco leaves) and smoke it by burning it directly with charcoal. This method provides a much higher content of tobacco and nicotine. This maybe less popular due to the process imposing more adverse health effects compared to vaporized shisha hookahs.

Modern Hookah tobacco is also known as Shisha or Mu‘assel (Arabic: معسل, this means "honeyed"). Shisha or Mu‘assel is a syrupy tobacco mix with molasses and vegetable glycerol which serves as a moisturizer to slow the burn process. Modern Shisha or Mu‘assel typically have specific flavors added to it. Typical flavors of mu‘assel include apple, grape, guava, lemon, mint, as well as many other fruit-based mixes. Non-tobacco-based mu'assel is also available in certain areas where tobacco smoking is not allowed.

Today, hookahs are readily available for sale at smoke shops and some gas stations across the United States, along with a variety of tobacco brands and accessories. However, if you wish to purchase a quality hookah, we recommend that you follow our blog to learn "what makes a quality hookah".

Sources include:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hookah

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