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Hookah vs Vape - What’s the Difference Between Hookah and Vape?

Hookah vs Vape - What’s the Difference Between Hookah and Vape?

By Amir / April 29, 2024

Let’s Compare – Hookah vs Vape

Let's compare Hookah vs Vape: two completely different devices, separate enthusiast groups and even independent conventions, the activities of vaping and hookah are often compared. Which smoking method is safer? Which has more flavor? Is one better than the other? Although many vapers don’t smoke hookah and visa versa, they have many similarities. They are also infinitely different. Thoroughly confused yet? SouthSmoke is here to compare hookah vs vape. The similarities as well as what makes each pastime unique. Let’s dive in. Hookah vs Vape - A traditional hookah and a vape pen.


Hookah Pipes vs Vape Pens and Vape Mods

Hookahs are simply waterpipes specifically made to smoke shisha or hookah tobacco. Shisha is packed into a hookah bowl made from materials like clay, glass, silicone or metal and placed on top of the stem. A hookah stem is normally made of some sort of metal, plastic or glass. The stem sits on a glass vase that is filled with water. Hot hookah charcoal is placed on foil atop the bowl to bake the shisha tobacco. The tobacco mixture is heated to the point that the liquids atomize into vapor and when inhaled through the hose, the vapor passes through the stem and is filtered by the water before reaching the smoker’s mouth. Check out our complete Hookah Guide here! Vape pens and vape mods work very differently. An electric coil inside of an atomizer, or tank, is used to rapidly heat vape juice or e-liquids that have soaked into cotton surrounding the coil to create vapor. This happens almost instantly when the smoker inhales from the pen or mod. There are several variants in smaller vape pens and large vape mods but all use a similar model. There are limited crossover devices like the e-hookah head which is a vape device that sits atop a hookah pipe. These devices also use the heating coil to produce vapor which is then pulled through the hookah.

What Are You Smoking? Hookah Shisha vs Vape Juice

Shisha tobacco is a mixture of tobacco leaves, vegetable glycerin, a sweetener like honey or molasses, and flavoring juices. When baked with hookah charcoal, the glycerin and juices vaporize to create smoke and flavor while tobacco provides the nicotine hit. The tobacco does not combust but is rather baked making hookah very different than smoking cigarettes. The large selection of shisha flavors is a huge draw for hookah enthusiasts that like to experiment with new tastes and creative mixes. Woman smoking shisha at a hookah lounge and a man smoking a vape mod. Vape juice or e-liquid consists of vegetable glycerin, propylene glycol, nicotine, flavoring and sweeteners. The nicotine can be extracted from tobacco leaves or synthetic nicotine. The heating coil comes in contact with the liquid mixture creating vapor with the vegetable glycerin being the main proponent of the large clouds. An e-liquid with a higher ratio of vegetable glycerin (VG) to propylene glycol (PG) will create larger clouds. Flavoring in e-juices can be natural or artificial and come in a wide variety of flavors. As you can see, there are similarities as both e-liquid and hookah shisha use vegetable glycerin to produce the clouds. Both contain nicotine but in different forms and both are popular for the large variety of fruity flavors. There are also non-tobacco, non-nicotine options for both hookah and vape as well. Herbal shisha is usually made from tea leaves or sugar cane instead of tobacco and 0mg nicotine vape juice is available for vapers. Woman smoking a hookah with friends and a man smoking vape alone.

The Culture of Smoking Hookah vs Vaping

Hookah smoking is intended to be a social experience. A group pastime with deep roots in cultures across the globe. It is meant to bring people together forming a social bridge between people of different heritage. There are hookah lounges and shisha cafes around the world that show this deep tradition. Many hookah pipes include several hose ports exactly for this reason. While smoking hookah can be a personal activity, it is ultimately designed for group sessions. Vaping is a more personal affair. Many vapers are ex-cigarette smokers that have switched to cut down on the habit. Vape devices tend to be designed for individual use and aren’t typically shared. Now that vaping has grown in popularity, it has become more of an enthusiast hobby. Many vapers gather in online communities and at vaping conventions to learn about new devices, share information and show off their cloud skills. Vape mods are now highly customizable and each smoker can build their own personal devices. Woman smoking hookah with friends and a man smoking a vape at a convention.

You Decide How You Want to Smoke

Many similarities and even more differences, hookah and vape are both enjoyable activities. Smoke with friends around a shisha pipe or enjoy your own vape juice flavors, the choice is yours. If you decide to vape, we won’t hate but we’d rather you smoke hookah (wink face emoji). For all of the best hookah shisha flavors, hookah pipes, and hookah accessories, visit Happy smoking!

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