Cigarette smoking peaking here in the U.S. around 1997, adults were either stopping or moving to other products and in 1998 the top five tobacco producers in the U.S. signed the Master Settlement Agreement which put more restrictions on how tobacco products could be marketed.
Since that time period smoking hookah has slowly become more popular here in the U.S. and around the world and the wide variety of exotic favors like Cherry Apple Red or Bubble Gum are part of the attraction to some smokers.
What is Hookah Tobacco? It’s a mix of tobacco, fruit flavorings and sugar and it’s easily smoke by placing a clump of it in a ceramic bowl and then covering it with aluminum foil. Then a burning ember referred to as a “hookah coal” – this ember heats the tobacco (known popularly as “Shisha”), creating a flow of smoke that bubbles down through the container of water and then into a long hose with a mouthpiece for inhaling at one end.
There isn’t a lot of research about the merits of hookah tobacco and the impact on your repertory system; it’s a tobacco product so it has some risks associated with usage.
Some believe it is a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes, as the smoke is filtered through water which cools the smoke, making it somewhat easier (not as harsh) on your lungs.
There is less tobacco being consumed using a hookah versus other similar products. But, research has indicated from research done in the Middle East that Shisa from the Middle East may have more contaniments, including cadmium, aluminum, iron, lead and arsenic.
But, traditional cigarettes do contain more tobacco than Shisha which in many cases is heavily diluted with additives including molasses, sugar and fruit flavoring.
Because charcoal is part of the smoking experience it may produce toxins that you would not ordinarily get from other products. And, because many hookah smokers are enjoying the product in cafes or social situations involving groups of people over a long period of time (smoking the pipe intermittently) this may cause some health issues as well.
You can find Hookah tobacco in a wide number of flavors including:
- Bubble Gum
- Lemon Mint
- Gumi Bear (yes!)
- Fruits: Apple, Papaya, Strawberry, Orange, Passion Fruit, Plun, Cherry
You can also find tobacco free hookah Shisha and some of these more exotic favors are completely smoke free, producing just flavored vapors and steam.