The short answer to this is yes, it is distinct from just about any other kind of smoking experience you can have. But, to fully appreciate this as well as the fact that it is so much healthier than cigarettes, you have to understand how a hookah works, as well as the nature of the tobacco it uses. It also helps to understand the nature of conventional smoke and how that nature causes the various illnesses associated with cigarette use. That’s right, you are going to get a small science lesson, a little history lesson and a lot of advice on how to enjoy tobacco in a healthier way. Interested? Thought so!
Let’s start with the nature of cigarette smoke and why it is so toxic. Smoke is a byproduct of combustion, and combustion is basically just a high-energy chemical reaction. Smoke is therefore comprised of ash, inflammable oils from whatever was burned and various carcinogenic byproduct compounds. The truth is, there’s no such thing as smoke that is good for you, even incense and woodsmoke are toxic, just not quite as toxic as tobacco smoke.
It is this ash and the carcinogenic compounds that are so bad for you, the nicotine is merely a rather addictive element that, in high enough dosages, would be toxic. In the levels present in smoke, the nicotine itself isn’t particularly toxic unless you have respiratory, cardiac lymphatic issues, or are not yet done growing. It can start your growth, that’s the main reason why children should never be allowed to have tobacco of any form.
A hookah doesn’t produce traditional smoke at all. The tobacco for hookahs, called chillum or shisha, is extremely moist and sticky, very brightly colored and pungent in flavoring. It would be nearly impossible to roll it up or put in a pipe and smoke it, it wouldn’t catch fire. You would have to ruin it by drying it out first, and at that point, it would taste absolutely terrible it was actually burning.
In reality, chillum is slowly roasted and vaporize by charcoal heat, and then, the released oils being heavier than air, they sink down into the hollow chamber at the base of the hookah. You may notice the multiple hoses connected to the hookah, this is because in the cultures where it was invented, these are a very social tool, something that is been shared during trade, political and even marriage negotiations historically. That common scene in various movies of locals sitting around a hookah in a Casbah, gossiping and enjoying their tobacco isn’t an incorrect stereotype, and is still a common site today in establishments in those regions when smoking is at all permitted.
The smoke itself is far less irritating, doesn’t dry the throat and mouth the same way, it is much headier and potent in flavor, being very unique and smooth, pleasant and cool. If you are interested in switching to a hookah, Chillum NZ is your one-stop shop for various brands of chillum and hookah alike.