Why Do People Continually Smoke Hookah / Shisha?

I have been observing hookah smokers for a long time. I compiled a list of the top reasons why people continually smoke it.  This extensive list is by no means meant to encourage smoking.

1. Primitive instinct.  Sucking on a hookah tip is reminiscent subconsciously of being breastfed (comforting action. )  Few years ago, I helped name an American disposable hookah hose brand the Puff Baby, based on this reason.

2. Yoga action.  End of the day,  with all of the stress of the day,  one becomes short-breathed and tired.  Smoking hookah will help the smoker relax through continual long duration inhalation and exhalation cycles.  This mimics some yoga exercising,  albeit with harmful smoke instead of fresh air. The filling-and-emptying exercise is undoubtedly relaxing.

3. Nicotine gets replenished in the blood for those addicted to smoking.  Within seconds there comes the adrenaline rush, a boost in energy (heart rate increase), followed by a boost in pleasure thanks to increased dopamine in the blood stream. This puts hookah tobacco closer to Psychoactive drugs.

4. Forbidden Fruit. Look this way, I’m smoking. How cool is that?

5. Hookah Lounge. Social life, hanging out,  showing off, expressing oneself. A night club alternative? Open till late night.

6. Malicious Exotic Fruit Association.  Strong realistic flavors mixed with tobacco. Orange hookah head, pineapple head,  watermelon head,  etc. It can’t get healthier than that! Or not?

This is part 1. I will discuss the harms of hookah smoking under a separate cover.

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Sorbitol in Hookah Tobacco

This is always a “hot” topic. Hookah Tobacco consists of about 20% tobacco, and the rest is Glycerin (vegetable product), artificial flavors (esters,  etc.), and sweetners (sugars,  invert sugar, and/or sorbitol) which oftentimes are loosely referred to as honey or sweet base molasses. It hardly ever contains natural flavors.

Here I will only discuss “Sorbitol”, which is a sweetner you most commonly find in your toothpaste along with Xylitol. Your body naturally makes sorbitol when breaking down glucose. When you smoke hookah, sorbitol will be completely burnt at around  300 degrees C (coal burning temperature.) This is a very high temperature. The result is formaldehyde and acetaldehyde,  some known carcinogens to humans. These products materialize thru the hydrogenation of CO.  If your eyes become red or itchy while smoking, this maybe the result of 2 additional by-products; acrolein, and furfural.

The hookah Tobacco ingredients look innocent on the surface,  but once you burn them at 300 deg C, the ugly output shows up.

Jordan is one of the world’s top producers of hookah tobacco. This makes it a primary exporter of cancer to humans smoking these productks.  This unfortunately helps indirectly solve part of the global over-population problem.

Pictured in Amman, JO, at a Hookah Tobacco manufactory

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