Hookah has been around since the mid-1500s and has recently gained a lot of popularity in the United States over the past 15-20 years. Due to the increase in demand for this social method of smoking tobacco, smoke shops now carry hookahs and all the hookah accessories and specific hookah bars and lounges have opened up across the country. Especially popular with the younger generation, hookah can be a very enjoyable way to socialize with friends and strangers alike. This guide is intended for those who wish to learn about the proper way to set up a hookah and how to use it. While it may seem pretty straight forward, there are some specific steps that should be taken to make sure that your hookah smoking experience is the best that it can be.

Setting up Your Hookah


Before you even begin setting up your hookah, it is important to clean each piece thoroughly, except for the hose(s). All you need to clean your hookah with is a soft–bristled brush and warm water. Once clean, you should wipe down each piece with a towel and let them air dry before continuing. Ideally, you should clean your hookah after every use but let’s be honest, that probably won’t happen. In that case, you should definitely clean it when you start to see residue build up on the base or when the smoke doesn’t taste right. You should be able to find proper cleaning products at a hookah shop.

Fill the base

The base is the large container at the bottom of your hookah. This is used to hold the water that will dilute and cool the smoke. Pour enough water into the base to cover 1 inch of the metal stem that drops down. It is important to leave enough space for air so that it can bubble properly and make it easier to draw from the hose. Don’t add more water thinking that it will help filter more of the chemicals and nicotine out of the smoke. Some hookah enthusiasts will add ice to help cool down the smoke to make their smoking even more pleasurable.

Putting your Hookah together

The next step is to assemble your hookah pipe. First, you will want to insert the hookah shaft into the base so that the stem is in the water. There sometimes is a silicone or rubber ring that fits around the top of the base to make the seal airtight. This is important because if there isn’t an airtight seal, the smoke will be thin and difficult to draw. Next, attach the hose or hoses into the hose slots and make sure that each connection is properly sealed, just like the base. You should check the airflow by covering the top of the hookah with you have and drawing in air. If you get any air when you inhale on the hose that means one of the connections is not airtight. Attach the metal ashtray on top of the hookah shaft to collect any hot embers or excess tobacco that may fall.

Setting up the shisha

Shisha is just tobacco that is packed in flavored liquids to give it taste and help produce thicker smoke. There are a variety of flavors available and ultimately depends on what you are in the mood for. Stir up the shisha before removing it because the liquid tends to settle at the bottom of the package. Take the bowl and begin lightly backing the shisha into it, making sure that air will still be able to flow freely through. Don’t fill it completely full otherwise, it will burn. Next, cover the shisha bowl with heavy-duty aluminum foil and then attach it to the top of the hookah shaft. Before lighting the coals, you will want to poke 10-15 holes in the aluminum foil with a toothpick or thumbtack to allow some air to be inhaled.


There are two types of coals that are commonly used with hookahs: quick light coals and natural coals. If you are looking for convenience, then you should use quick light coals with can be lit very easily but do not produce good smoke and can give some people headaches. If you are looking for quality then you should use natural coals. These coals take longer to light but are worth it in the end. Once the coals of your choice are lit, place it off center on top of the aluminum foil and let the shisha heat up for a few minutes before enjoying.

Enjoying your hookah

The key is to keep the shisha from charring. Charring can happen if you pack the bowl too full, which makes it too close to the coals or if you take too hard of pulls that cause the coals to flare up and burn the shisha. As you inhale through the hose, you draw air past the coals that heat up the shisha and create the flavored smoke that you will enjoy.

For the best selection of hookah supplies and hookah tobacco, visit Smokey News in Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale’s best smoke shop. The friendly and knowledgeable staff members are always happy to help answer any questions and make suggestions.