Skip to Content


Home | How to smoke hookah and hookah setup guide

Search Post

How to Smoke Hookah and Hookah Setup Guide

How to Smoke Hookah and Hookah Setup Guide

By Amir / April 29, 2024

New to Smoking Hookah?

Your friends claim to be hookah experts. They know the top hookah brands, shisha tobacco flavors and the best hookah charcoal on the market. They own the greatest hookah setup of all time with the 1 of 1 hookah bowl that no one else has and nothing else compares. Now, they’ve invited you to join them in a hookah session at the local hookah lounge. You can’t look like a newb. You’ve got to show them that you can hang. That you know how to smoke hookah. Man smoking hookah blog how to smoke hookah logo

How Do You Smoke Hookah?

Going to a hookah lounge the first time you smoke takes a lot of the stress and hassle out of setting up the hookah. No need to worry about getting your shisha packed correctly or controlling the heat. Let the professionals handle the equipment. If you have questions or your hookah isn’t smoking right, notify staff. Ask questions and try to just relax and enjoy your session. Man smoking hookah.

Before You Smoke Hookah

Always grab a bite to eat before you sit down for a hookah session. This is especially important when you are new to hookah to avoid the dreaded “hookah sickness”. Beginner hookah smokers usually have a lower tolerance to nicotine and a little food in your stomach goes a long way to combating a nicotine rush. Choose a flavored tobacco that sounds good to you. A hookah lounge will give you a list of shisha flavors to choose from. This list will usually consist of fruit, drink and maybe some dessert flavors that should sound familiar. Pick something that you think you would enjoy. If they have options between dark tobacco and blonde tobacco, start with blonde as it’s lighter and better for beginners. Lastly, make sure to ask for a mouth tip for the hookah hose. No one likes spreading germs. Be sure to keep your mouth tip to yourself and remember to use it each time the hose gets passed to you.

Smoking the Hookah Pipe

It’s finally time for those first puffs of hookah smoke. Take your time, don’t rush it. Don’t get overly excited and pull in more than you can handle. Inhale lightly with short breaks in between each puff as you savor the flavor of your hookah shisha. Too much, too quickly leads to a head rush and sick feeling and a quick end to your session. Group smoking hookah at a hookah lounge. Hydrate throughout. Just as important as eating beforehand, have a glass of water, tea or drink of your choice to stay hydrated throughout the hookah session. Pass that hose! For a quick read on hookah etiquette, check out our blog “Hookah Lounge Etiquette”. Don’t be that guy. You’re there to spend time with friends around the hookah, let them enjoy it too. Take a couple puffs and move the hookah hose along. It’ll come back to you, I promise. Sit back, relax and enjoy the taste, sensations and time with great company. Man laying down smoking hookah.

How to Set Up a Hookah

Now that you’re hooked on hookah and have experienced the hookah lounge scene, you may be wanting to build your own hookah and smoke at home. For a quick guide on what you’ll need to get started, check out our blog “What Do You Need to Smoke Hookah?” Once you have a complete hookah setup, you’re ready to build your own hookah session! Start by filling your hookah vase with water until it’s about an inch above the bottom of the downstem. Only use water in the hookah base. Anything else can lead to mold and a tougher job of cleaning. Once the base is filled, put your hookah together using all hookah base grommets, hookah hose grommets and bowl grommets included. Hookah Tobacco pack density chart by shisha brand

How to Pack Shisha Tobacco

Packing shisha depends on the type of tobacco you’re using. As you’ll probably be starting with blonde hookah tobacco like Starbuzz Tobacco, Al-Fakher Shisha or Mazaya Hookah, a general rule is to sprinkle the shisha into your hookah bowl and lightly pat it down so it’s just below the rim. You can experiment with packing methods to see how they affect your sessions. Check out a full guide to packing different hookah brands here: Pack Density by Hookah Tobacco Brand. Tightly cover the hookah bowl with hookah foil until its drum tight and use a foil poker, or something similarly sharp to poke holes all around the top. Make sure you are poking down through the shisha to create the best airflow.

How to Light Hookah Charcoal to Smoke Hookah

Depending on what type of hookah charcoal you purchased, lighting the hookah coal can vary. See Natural Hookah Charcoal vs. Quick Light Hookah Charcoal for the pros and cons of each as they can greatly affect your hookah session. hookah charcoal with sparks on hookah bowl

Quick-Light Charcoal

If you chose quick lights like Three Kings Charcoal, lighting is quite simple. Use hookah tongs to hold the coals while you light with a torch or lighter. Be sure to fully light the coal to burn off all flammable materials before smoking as the chemicals can release carbon monoxide.

Natural Coconut Hookah Charcoal

Natural coals can take a bit longer to light but the benefits greatly outweigh the simplicity of quick-lights. Place your natural charcoal on an electric coil burner until glowing red. This may take 6-8 minutes. Once one side is red, flip and let it heat until the other side is glowing as well. Always use tongs when handling hookah charcoal. Make sure to have plenty of ventilation while lighting charcoal and if you’re smoking inside as coals can release carbon monoxide. No one wants to deal with that. Place your coals around the top of the hookah bowl and let your tobacco heat up for a short period of time. Slowly take a couple puffs from your hookah hose until smoke starts flowing. Enjoy! Woman smoking hookah at hookah lounge Experiment! Try new tobacco flavors, hookah bowls and hoses. Look into different hookah charcoal brands and shapes and sizes. With hookah, the learning never ends! Take time to figure out what works best for you and always remember to relax and enjoy your hookah. Find all of the hookahs, flavored tobacco and hookah accessories you will ever need at

Add Comment

Search Post


Month List