Electric hookahs (aka electronic hookahs) are a fairly new technology and rapidly growing in popularity.
We’ve gathered the most frequently asked questions and answered them so that you can be informed and decide whether it is right for you.
What is it?
If you’re not familiar with hookah at all, I’ll give you a quick synopsis.
The word hookah means “jar” in Arabic, it originated in the middle east and India as a way of smoking flavored tobacco through a water pipe. It was believed to be less harmful than other methods of smoking because the water “purified” the tobacco and provided a smooth vapor as opposed to harsh smoke.
Over the years the hookah has evolved into a sophisticated multi-stemmed unit, typically used to smoke socially. The electronic aspect of hookah smoking didn’t come into play until very recently.
Electronic cigarettes were first introduced in china in 2004 as a way to help people to quit smoking, it involved a liquid compound that was electrically heated and turned into vapor – designed to mimic the tobacco effect without the tobacco and tar. The amount of nicotine could be controlled to provide smokers with their “fix” and slowly ween them off completely .
In 2013 we saw a surge of e-cigarette manufacturers come into the US market. This in turn led to hookah companies incorporating the same technology to hookah smoking.
Why is E-Hookah so popular?
E-hookah provides a huge convenience factor. There’s no need for a hookah pipe, no need to pack a bowl of tobacco, fill the water basin of pipe, or fiddle with hot coals.
There’s also the “cool” factor. E-Hookah is a fresh technology, not a lot of people have heard of it at this point so the likelihood that someone will be completely intrigued is pretty high.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly – It is less harmful than the traditional hookah smoking method. Read more about that below.
Are All E-Hookahs The Same?
No. They come in many different shapes and sizes but there are 2 main categories you need to know:
- Nicotine Containing
- Non Nicotine Containing
Respectable online retailers will disclose this information in the product description. If they don’t, you should look elsewhere. SouthSmoke.com is a great online retailer that includes very specific details and product images.
What are the Pros & Cons?
- No fire, ash or odor
- Nicotine free options available
- Tobacco and tar free
- Non-addictive (using nicotine-free models)
- Can actually save you money – Last anywhere from 500-1500 puffs depending on unit. (several hours, days, weeks maybe?) A “bowl” of hookah tobacco (aka shisha) using the traditional method will last a maximum of 1 hour, regardless of puffs. The coals will burn through it.
- Refillable cartridge units available for even more savings.
- The “cool” factor (believe me, people love it)
- Its a great social activity
- High initial costs – Unit itself can be expensive, then you just buy the refill cartridges
- Some reusable e-hookahs must be charged occasionally
- Cartridges are not readily available at most local stores
- May cause you to smoke more due to convenience factor and ease-of-use
Which E-Hookah Is The Best?
My favorite is by far the Starbuzz E-Hose. It has the best cartridge life I’ve seen, longest battery life and very elegantly designed. It is one of the pricier models out there, but it’s definitely worth it. Read my full review here.