How Does A Hookah Work: Useful Guide [2023]

A hookah is a magical tool and a gate to heaven for most people addicted to it, but if you are new to smoking hookah and its terminology, you might wonder how does hookah work?

If that is the situation, you have reached the right place on the internet to find the answer. The answer will surely satisfy your query, and still, after reading all the sections and frequently asked questions, if you have any doubts, you can ask me in the comment sections.

We all love to smoke hookah and its different tobacco mixture of shisha. Hookah smoking has been an integral part of our daily life where we need hookah to smoke every day and relax a little bit from our hectic life schedules.

Younger generations, including Gen Zs, are the ones who are more attracted to hookah smoking and trying different tobacco products. It’s not like they only smoke hookah; they have also started smoking cigarettes.

Cigarette smoking can not deliver the hookah-smoking experience, and both are different from their roots. But both serve the exact intent of smoking tobacco,

Many people like to smoke flavored tobacco mixture in a hookah setup, and this hookah tobacco will surely give you a great smoking experience.

Smoking hookahs have become a symbol and status to live within society. If you don’t smoke hookah, they will not include you in a group where hookah is given priority over everything else.

Hookah smoke is the thing for which we all smoke hookah, and the smoke produced from the hookah setup will motivate you to smoke more because its thick smoke is why people love smoking hookah all day.

How Does A Hookah Work?

To understand how a hookah works, we need to understand the different components from which hookah is made.

And to answer the question shortly, “Hookah works by smoking the tobacco placed in the bowl at the top of the hookah, and the smoke it produces drawn down to the base of the hookah and then into the hose, and the smokers will inhale that smoke.”

It’s a simple workflow of how a hookah works, but to understand it deeply, you need to look at every component to understand its working procedure better.

If we talk about the main three-part of hookah, it is the base, bowl, and stem.

Without these three major hookah parts, you won’t be able to smoke your favorite hookah flavors. Now, let’s get some information on these three major hookah parts.

The base is where you fill your hookah liquid, in most cases water, and it is not limited to the water only. There are lots of substitutes for water to use in the hookah base.

It is used to accommodate the water in the base and is also used to accommodate the smoke produced from the hookah and purge valve.

The hookah stem plays a significant role in connecting the base to the hookah bowl, and it usually sends the smoke from tobacco up through the water in the base.

The hookah bowl accommodates the tobacco or flavored tobacco, and it is usually placed at the top of the hookah stem. When you start smoking your hookah, the tobacco placed inside the bowl will start producing the hookah smoke.

Then the smoke will pass down through the downstem to the water in the hookah base. So, when you inhale the smoke through the hose connected with the hose port, the smoke will then travel through your mouth to your lungs. And gives you the critical hit and buzz of the tobacco to relax.

This is how the major three parts of hookah work, and there are many other parts to discuss in this article. So, I recommend you read this article until the end to learn how a typical hookah smoking session and hookah in general works.

We will also discuss some of the diseases associated with smoking hookah, including heart disease, lung disease, etc. And these are published by the authority of the American lung association.

As hookah tobacco contains more harmful chemicals than anyone smoking, it may have health concerns. However, there are more health risks associated with hookah smoking; even the world health organization has issued regularities and rules for smoking hookah.

The cancer-causing chemicals have an increased risk of health risks than can lead anyone into a problematic situation, and it may also lead you to esophageal cancer. Tobacco works as an addictive drug, and it’s too bad for the human body. Still, people are consuming it for no reason.

Now, let’s talk about the different hookah parts and try to understand its works.

All Hookah Parts And Its Working: How Does A Hookah Work

Let’s dive straight into the hookah parts, where you will learn about all the hookah parts you need to learn about.

Hookah Bowl

The hookah bowl holds the tobacco in the bowl, also known as shisha tobacco. A hookah bowl is made from glass or clay, and it’s placed on the top of the hookah pipe.

Hookah Bowl Grommet

A bowl grommet is made from rubber, and it is usually a rubber ring that fits around the hookah stem to make an airtight seal between the stem and hookah bowl.

Charcoal Tray

As the name suggests, the charcoal tray collects all the ashes falling from the coals that you put on the hookah bowl to light up the hookah. The coal tray is made from stainless steel and prevents coal ashes from falling on the floor and making a mess.

It’s pretty similar to what cigarette smokers use to clear their cigarette’s ashes.

The Coals

Coals are the significant source of heat that is required to light up the tobacco placed inside the hookah bowl. When the heat generated from the coal is transferred to the tobacco, it creates tobacco smoke, and that smoke passes through the hose to your mouth.

These coals are placed on the top of the hookah bowl, precisely on top of the aluminium foil. There are two types of coals available; one is natural and the other is magic coals. But pro hookah smokers prefer natural coals over magic coals, as they last longer than the other ones.

Natural coals are also used to enjoy an hour-long hookah session; these burning charcoal sometimes will be used for the next hookah session if they still lighten up.

Good charcoal is necessary to have on your list of essential hookah parts to produce smoke.

Purge Valve

A purge valve or release valve is a small lever located on one of the sides of the base of hookah, and when you open it, it allows the atmospheric air to enter the base where all the smoke is staying. The coming air into the smoke chamber will clear all the residual smoke from the last session of hookah you had.The air will push the release valve up in the direction making the ball bearing to rise up.


It is that small part of the hookah stem that will stay in the air, and it directly connects with the hookah bowl or tobacco bowl and allows the smoke produced in the hookah to the top of the pipe.


That part of the hookah stem goes directly into the hookah’s base and the water in the base. It directs the tobacco smoke generated in the hookah down to the base and then into the hookah hose.

Rubber Grommet

The hookah base and downstem need to be appropriately sealed, and to do that; a rubber grommet is used. This rubber grommet prevents the air from leaking into the pipe, and this grommet allows smokers to smoke correctly without any hesitation.


A mouthpiece, usually made from plastic, is connected at the end of the hookah hose for the comfort of the smoker. When you smoke from the hose, it may discomfort you because it is the same hose that all the members of the smoking unit will use.

And a mouthpiece will prevent any bacteria from getting into the mouth. It is an excellent hygienic way of smoking hookah and tobacco product.

Hookah Base

A hookah base is an integral part of the hookah ecosystem, as it is used to hold the water or any other substitute for water you use in the base, and it connects the hose with the hookah pipe.

Hookah base is made from different materials, but glass, metal, and plastic are the most used materials.

The Stem

The bowl and base need to be connected, and the stem is used exact to do that. The materials used to make the stem are generally stainless steel, brass, or aluminium. The stem is also used to direct the smoke to the water in the base from the hookah bowl.

Smoke Chamber

The smoke chamber is usually located at the base of the water pipe, and this is where pro smokers put their ice when they feel the urge to add it and the ice-cool down the smoke, and chilled smoke feels good in your mouth.


A typical hookah consists of a diffuser that distributes the heat evenly to prevent the coals from getting too much heat. It is generally located at the top of the downstem.

Hookah Tongs

Hot coals are being used on the top of the hookah bowl to light up the tobacco made from tobacco leaves. Waterpipe smoking is also known as hookah smoking, and when you want to smoke hookah, you will need to add hot coals. To pick up these hot coals, you need a tool called hookah tongs.

It is usually made from two materials, including metal and wood.


It is an excellent part of hookah to prevent heat from spreading over and getting spoiled. A wind cover is placed on the top of the tobacco bowl, and it also helps coals ashes to float around in the air.


A hookah bowl usually is covered with a perforated foil sheet, and holes are poked into the hookah foil to allow the air to pass from the bowl and generate tobacco smoke. This tobacco smoke has an excellent carbon monoxide exposure compared to a single cigarette.

The foil helps the heat distribute evenly and effectively transfers the heat to the tobacco products used in the bowl, which have a high nicotine dose.

Tobacco can create lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and impaired pulmonary function. To have disease control in the body, you need to stop smoking hookah. It also increases blood pressure.

The Water

Water in the base plays a crucial role in the making and working of a hookah. The water also plays a role in filtering the smoke-producing in the hookah and the base. Water is placed inside the hookah base made from different materials.

When you start smoking and pull a draw from the hose, it draws the air and smoke inside the base.

Hose Port

The hose port is placed on one of the base sides, and it attaches the hose to the hookah. It is sealed by a rubber grommet that prevents any leak from the hose itself.

The Hookah Hose

A hose is a long pipe made from different materials, and it helps you inhale the smoke produced in the base. It will also filter the coming smoke from the base. Furthermore, it will cool down the smoke coming into your mouth, making a pleasurable smoking experience. Hookah hoses are the best way to smoke hookah in a good way.

Hose Connector

A hose connector helps you connect the hose with the hookah base, and it has a threaded end that will connect the hoses’ end to the base.

Hose Handle

A hose handle is a subpart of the hose as a whole, and it helps you have a good grip on the hose from which you smoke your hookah and its tobacco products.

The hose handle is made from wood or plastic, and it gives you a comfortable grip to hold the hose for a more extended period.

We have completed all the hookah parts tours, and I hope you have gained better information on hookah parts and from which the actual hookah is made.

Now, it’s time to look into more specific details about some of the hookah parts that will help you understand its function in a better way.

Hookah Part’s Functions

Food and chemical toxicology are essential to learning if you want to learn how a hookah works, and we will look into some of the hookah parts’ functions to understand them better.

If you have smoked cigarettes ever, you know that it creates a buzz in your head, and a similar buzz will be there in the hookah.

The Bowl

A bowl is usually made from different materials, including clay, ceramics, glass, etc. And it is placed on the top of the hookah with tobacco products inside a bowl. You will find various types of hookah bowls in the market, but the one widely used by most smokers is the Egyptian bowl.

An Egyptian bowl can be recognized by its five holes at the bottom of the bowl. The bowl holds the tobacco that also contains harmful chemicals and harmful components.

It will then light up tobacco placed inside the bowl according to the use of the hookah in the hookah bars. This is where you will get the best human services for smoking tobacco and making great tobacco use.

There are various types of hookah bowls available in the market, and you should choose wisely as it all depends on the type of bowl you use for the hookah session.

The Water

Water makes hookah possible to smoke because you won’t be able to smoke without water. Mainstream smoke aerosol. There are majorly two purposes of water in the hookah base, one is to filter, and the other is to cool down the smoke generated in the hookah, hence providing a bit of chilled smoke to the smokers.

The water in the base significantly helped the tobacco in the bowl to burn at a low pace. The water level in the base can affect your smoking experience as it all depends on the amount of water you put in the hookah base.

An overall measure of adding the water to the base is to fill it up above i1 inch of the downstem in the base. You won’t have a good hookah smoking experience if it’s too much or too little.

The Hose

All the setup won’t finalize if you have not connected the hose with the bottom of the hookah bowl, and it goes through the water in the hookah base. This is where you inhale the tobacco smoke from the pipe.

Hose will also filter the smoke you are inhaling, and further, it will cool down the smoke for a better smoking experience.

There are hundreds of different hookah hoses available in the market, but the highly recommended one by pro and expert hookah smokers is silicone hoses.

The Base

Young adults are addicted to addictive chemical like tobacco products, so they want to smoke hookah all day. The base holds the water in the hookah and helps you start smoking. It also connects to the bowl and hose, making a complete hookah setup.

Hookah base is made from different materials, including metal, glass, and plastic. One can easily judge its quality by looking at the materials used to make the hookah and its parts.

The Stem

A Hookah stem is an integral part of the hookah ecosystem as it holds the base, bowl, and hose together to function.

It also cools the smoke passing through the water, and it is usually made from metal or plastic.

How to use hookah effectively?

A hookah is a great tool that can provide you immense pleasure. So, it is highly required to use hookah effectively when smoking tobacco.

Most hookah smokers also smoke cigarettes, and they like hookah smoke over cigarette smoke for various reasons. The first one is that hookah provides you with the feel of smoke coming out of your mouth in quantity.

And when you put out smoke from your mouth in the quantity that provides you with the same buzz as cigarette smoking, you obviously will like the hookah more.

But, here we are talking about how you can smoke and use hookah effectively to give you the best smoking experience.

You should follow the simple yet effective procedure of making a great hookah.

So, first of all, take your hookah base, and fill it with the correct amount of water, not too much and not too little.

Then, fill your bowl with your desired hookah tobacco or shisha tobacco. It could be flavored tobacco as well.

And put your hose in the glass vase, and start preparing your hookah coals. Once the coals are ready to use and hot, use hookah tongs, take 2-3 pieces of coals, and put them on the top of the hookah bowl.

Considering the hookah bowl is covered with an aluminium foil already. Make sure to spread the coals evenly on the top of the hookah bowl for better heat management. Or else you can use other heat management device for a better smoking experience.

Once you are done with all these basic setups, you can start sucking from the hose and charge the hookah up for a thick smoke.

One minor impact of the mistake of keeping coals on the bowl and not smoking hookah can lead to your smoking experience where you would not expect it.

Sitting the coals on the bowl will significantly affect shisha tobacco and may get a bitter taste.

Another mistake beginners and some experts make due to unawareness or laziness are that they don’t wash their hookah and its different parts with clean water after each hookah session.

It is mandatory to wash hookah and its different parts for a clean and hygienic hookah smoking session with your gang.

One of the main disadvantages of not washing your hookah is that many residues will be collected on hookah parts, including the bowl, hose, base, etc.

If you are wondering about washing your hookah, it’s simple: rinse your hookah and other parts in warm water and clean it with a micro-fibre cloth, and you are good to go. You can also use small brushes for corners where it’s challenging to reach with bare hands.


Now, we are at the particular section of the article where we will discuss some of the most asked questions about the topic: how does a hookah work.

So, if you don’t know how a hookah works and have some questions to ask in the context of the topic, you can easily ask them in the comment section below.

But before asking your questions, I recommend you to go through all the questions listed below about the topic, and you never know; you may find your questions down there in the list of frequently asked questions.

After reading all the questions and answers, still, if you feel that you doubt the topic, you can move ahead and ask your query in the comment section below.

I assure you that you will get your questions shortly, as soon as I figure out the answers.

And I list questions in this section according to the number of times it has been asked on several forums and on the general internet. It gives me an idea of the relevance of the questions to the audience and hookah smokers.

Now, let’s dive deep into the pool of questions.

Which hookah bowl is perfect to use?

If you are new to hookah smoking, you may not know about the brands and companies that manufacture hookah bowls and promote it. Let me tell you about it; hundreds of hookah bowls brads exist that different manufacture types of hookah bowl for different use. So, if you are wondering what hookah bowl should you use? I recommend you use Vortex bowl. The Vortex bowl has a cone inside the bowl that prevents tobacco juice from passing through the stem and base, keeping it inside a hookah bowl forever. It might be an expensive deal for you, but I recommend spending some extra bucks on this bowl and having a comfortable hookah smoking session.

Will ice hose tip enhance my smoking experience?

An ice hose tip is a fantastic tool or enhancement that smokers can use to make their hookah session feel good. It provides excellent and freezing smoke that gives you a great smoking experience. A hose tip is an extended part that can fit into the hose, and you can use it whenever you want. If you don’t want to use it, you can remove it and have simple smoking that you were doing. But if you use an ice hose tip, it will give you excellent and chilled smoke for about an hour, which is how long a typical hookah session lasts.

How to pack a hookah bowl?

A hookah bowl is an essential part of hookah as a whole, and when you want to smoke a hookah, you first need a flavor or hookah tobacco to fill in the bowl. Without the hookah bowl, you cannot smoke hookah tobacco. But, packing a hookah bowl is another skill to have. Not everyone has the skill to pack a hookah bowl effectively and smoke. If you are a complete beginner and don’t know how to pack a hookah bowl, you can use this simple method. Take your flavor, and give it a good mix; if required, cut it with a scissor and make a chopped piece. Then take a bowl and sprinkle your flavors into the bowl lightly. Do not press the flavors inside the bowl, making it hard like a stone. Instead, you should fill your hookah bowl with a light hand and leave some space for air to pass.

Will cold water in the base give extra pleasure to hookah smoking?

Coldwater is good to use in the hookah base, as it helps the smoke produced in the chamber cool down. And when you smoke chilled smoke, you will feel good about smoking. The flavors will taste real, and you will be motivated to smoke for longer hours. You can add ice cubes to the water in the base and make it chilled like ice.


Now that we have learned everything about hookah and its works, you may have got the answer to how hookah works. I have shared every minor detail about hookah smoking, from its tobacco to the water in the base.

And I have also mentioned the type of preparation you need to make to smoke a good hookah session. It doesn’t matter where you smoke, in a hookah bar or at someone’s party; you must prepare hookah well to have great smoking.

I have also mentioned every hookah part in this article, and it will help you understand how a hookah works and its other minor parts. Those hookah parts are easy to understand, but if you have any doubts about the hookah, you can always ask them in the comment section below.

And if you don’t know how to use hookah effectively, you can read a dedicated section on that topic in this article, where I have explained all the norms of how to use hookah and make it a better smoke generating machine.

Hookah uses tobacco, which contains harmful components that can easily harm your body and organs if you continue smoking it for years. Therefore, it is highly suggested to use herbal and tobacco-free flavors in hookah smoking to avoid health risks and emergencies.

If you sit in a room full of hookah smoke and think that you are not smoking, you will not be affected by its smoke. That’s ultimately a wrong mentality. Because secondhand smoke can damage you the same, it damages smokers. Lit coals, and try to clean all the stagnate smoke left behind while smoking.

After all, hookah is here to stay, and young adults are crazy about smoking, and its craze is increasing every day. So make sure you make hooka properly and use suitable materials and stuff to make your hookah.

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