Hookah smoking is a delightful pastime but there is a definite learning curve when you first start. As a result of that learning curve, the average hookah smoker can develop some bad hookah habits. In this post we will shed some light on these bad habits and help you overcome them on your journey towards complete hookah mastery.
Dangerous Coal Transportation
Handling hot coals is no joke. Anyone who has ever dropped a lit coal on their carpet, or burned themselves on one, knows this to be true. That's why dangerous coal transportation is the #1 bad hookah habit that we want everyone to fix. You should NEVER move more than one lit coal at a time with tongs. You should ALWAYS use a coal holder
for transporting more than one coal at a time, then carefully transfer the coals, one at a time, from the coal holder to your bowl. When you are using tongs, be sure to hold the coals with the tongs holding the top and bottom of the coals, not the sides. This prevents a lot of drops. Be safe when smoking and your sessions will never end with injury or damage to your home.
Dirty Base Water
Newsflash - people are lazy, and that laziness can lead to some nasty hookah sessions and longterm damage to your hookah. In this case, we are speaking specifically about changing the water in the base of your hookah. There are so many reasons to change your base water between each session. Here are just a few. Old base water will impart the flavor of your last bowl on your current bowl. Old base water can grow mold, which, if inhaled, can be very, very bad for your health. If you leave the stem of your hookah in contact with water for extended periods of time it can rust, or develop mineral deposits. And finally, it's just gross. Change your water between each session. Trust us, it's worth it.
Lazy Bowl Loading
Loading a bowl of shisha is definitely more art than science. Different bowls and different shisha brands need to be packed in different ways to reach their potential. One thing that is universal when it comes to loading a bowl, is that if you just toss your shisha in the bowl with zero plan, it's not going to go too well. Sure, you'll get some smoke and some flavor, but your shisha won't cook evenly, will probably burn, and likely will not have great airflow. We've written about bowl loading techniques before (here
, and here
), and if you search youtube you will find tons of brand specific, and bowl specific loading tutorials. Knowledge is your friend and a perfectly packed bowl will make your next session the best one yet.
Lazy Foil Stretching
A properly packed bowl ensures that your shisha has the potential to smoke properly but how you foil your bowl is just as important. The point of foil is to both suspend your coals above the bowl, and to regulate the amount of airflow/heat that flows over your shisha. You want your foil to be tight as a drum and your holes to be evenly sized and spaced around the top of the bowl. How you poke your holes is a matter of preference and we encourage you to experiment until you find what work best for you. Having your foil stretched as tight as possible is the key here and taking a few extra seconds to do it right will make a huge difference.
Improperly Lit Hookah Coals
There's a theme developing among these bad habits, and that is a desire to spend as little time as possible in preparing your hookah. It does take a little while to properly set up a hookah, but it's so worth it. When it comes to lighting your coals, not only is it preferable to let them light all the way through, it is downright mandatory as far as we are concerned. Smoking with unlit coals imparts a terrible flavor to your bowl, and does a lousy job in evenly heating your shisha. On top of that, when your coals are lighting up initially, especially quick lights, they give off some nasty stuff and you just don't want to breathe that in. Leave your coals on the burner until they are completely covered in ash and are glowing red.
Aggressive Hose Handling
Nothing makes a hookah owner more nervous than someone aggressively handling their hookah hose. Every jerking movement could send those scorching hot coals flying, or your hookah crashing to the ground. The hookah hose is an extension of the hookah itself, and should be treated as such. Your hose is attached to hot coals and fragile glass, and should be treated as such. When smoking, be wary of any tangling of the hose, the length of the hose, and the general stability of the hookah itself. Keep those things in mind, don't wave the hose around haphazardly, respect the hookah, and you will be fine.
Too Much Water In Your Base
Anyone who has accidentally puffed on a hookah with no water in the base knows that having enough water in your base is an essential step in an enjoyable smoke. On the other side of this, adding too much water to the base can cause a ton of problems as well. Too much water leads to a tight, restricted draw. It also leads to water bubbling up into the heart of your hookah, as well as your hose, both of which will lead to degradation of your gear over time. Finally, if you've ever tried to purge your hookah when there was too much water in the base then you know that it's actually possible to shoot water up into your stem, soaking your bowl, and completely ruining your session.
We truly believe that any smoker who works hard to break these bad hookah habits will end up with the best hookah sessions of their life!