Thursday, March 25, 2010

Health Effects of Hookah Smoke

Smoking a hookah pipe (also known as shisha or nargila or arguily) has become a popular social activity in the United States in recent decades. Many people see hookah smoking as a good alternative to smoking cigarettes, because of the flavored tobacco available for hookahs and the apparent health advantages of smoking through a pipe rather than smoking cigarettes. But is the hookah’s reputation as a healthy option really justified? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of hookah smoking from a health perspective.

The supposed health benefits of smoking through a hookah are largely based on the fact that the smoke is passed through water before it reaches the smoker’s lips. The hookah was first developed in India after tobacco became popular as a way to reduce the harshness of the smoke on the body and make smoking a more pleasurable experience. Flavored tobacco soon followed the innovation of smoking through water.

However, there is no real evidence that smoking through a hookah reduces the health risks associated with inhaling smoke itself. The water does cool the smoke and make it easier on the throat, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that it isn’t doing any damage to the smoker’s body. In fact, the World Health Organization has conducted research that indicates hookah smoke is equally as harmful and dangerous as cigarette smoke. So the filtration process of the hookah does not guarantee safer smoke.

That said, there are some advantages that come from what you actually smoke through the hookah. You don’t necessarily have to smoke tobacco through a hookah – there are alternative herbal shisha options which can be much better on the body. Hookah tobacco also tends to be much lower on nicotine content and devoid of many of the more harmful substances found in cigarettes, such as tar.

But still, you have to be careful of the amount of smoke you inhale. It is easy to inhale much more smoke from a round of hookah smoking than you would from a normal cigarette, meaning that even though the tobacco may be lower in nicotine, you end up consuming more through the sheer volume of smoke you take in. As with anything, moderation is the key to enjoying hookah smoke. A study in Pakistan showed that people who smoke only through a hookah have a lower risk of developing cancer than people who smoke only cigarettes, but for heavy hookah users, that risk goes way up. If you’re concerned about the possibility of nicotine addiction, stick to smoking herbal varieties.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The new website

Due to the growth of the hookah market and the increase of popularity of the word HOOKAH, I have created my new site that will eventually replace my website. For now I am keeping both. will be sponsoring the hookah/arguily tent at the upcoming Lebanese Fun Festival in Ottawa in July 2010.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Your health is your treasure.

As we all know that smoking is not good for our health. When smoking an arguily/hookah we are not supposed to focus on the smoking aspect but on the social one. We smoke to socialize, we don't socialize to smoke. If you can keep up with these guildelines I provide, you will enjoy the smoking experience more and you will encourage other to join in.
  • Never smoke indoor, not even in garage.
  • Never smoke alone. Always smoke with friends and socialize.
  • Never let children anywhere near you when you smoke.
  • Take at least 30-45 seconds between each puffs.
  • Never inhale.
  • Use mouth piece and offer one to each of your guests.
  • Use Stop-Nicotine filter.
  • Never pack the tobacco in bowl. Sprinkle it.
  • Put your Arguily away in winter.
  • Only smoke outside on a nice sunny day. Your ability to do this means that you are not addicted to Nicotine. You can stop smoking anytime you chose.
  • Always clean your arguily after every use using appropriate brush with cleaning detergent. This includes: bowl, vase, shaft, hose (yes use leather washable hose, not paper-based hose). If you are using a paper-based hose, throw it away after 15-20 smoking sessions, depending on quality.
  • Refill your tobacco bowl or head when you start feeling that the puffing is becoming harsh.
  • Change the position of your charcoal on the aluminum cover every 10 minutes.
  • Do not smoke Ajami Tobacco. This is the dry tobacco that is so strong and smoked with the charcoal in direct contact on it. No aluminum cover is used.
  • Never buy those curved arguily except for display. They are hard to clean and the cleaning brush will not reach some areas.
  • Let your charcoal turn into burning red piece before you place it on the aluminum covering the tobacco bowl.
  • Do not smoke daily. Control your habit.
  • Remember these recommendations and carry them with you anywhere you go and make people aware of the danger of smoke abuse.
  • If you have anymore recommendations to add, let me know and I will add to this list.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Lebanese Festival 2006 - Ottawa - July 19 to July 23

Here we go again. Summer 2006 is around the corner and preperation for the annual Lebanese Fun Festival is already underway. The Lebanese Fun Festival that takes place
in the parking lot of the St. Elias Cathedral every year around the celebration of St. Elias feast is by far one of the largest event in Ottawa every summer, and the largest lebanese event in Canada. Over 40,000 people attend the festival, over 400 volunteers and over 100 singers and dancers electrify the big stage and the arguily tent during the 5-days of festivities. Check out the Lebanese Fun Festival new website.

This year's festival is co-chaired by Yolanda Hanna and George Hanna and a committee made up of veterans who contribute to the success of the festival year after year. A large team of volunteers from age of 10 to 90+ years old will be getting ready to give a hand. From food preparation to ground maintenance to tents set-up to getting sponsors and more. Lots of hard work and dedicated effort will be put forward to ensure successful Lebanese Fun Festival. For those who misses Bobby, he will be there but this time with his beautiful fiancée Julie (sorry gals). Our festival evangelist Andre Skaff will also be on hand bugging people to buy raffle tickets, joined by Sam and Madiana who will be running around with her high heels making sure we all got what we want. I also have to warn you about littering the ground, our priest watchful eyes will be watching you from his office above the festival ground.

This year main attraction will be the double-sized Arguily tent with a total capacity of 500 people, and a patio that can seat over 100 people. The Arguily tent is the busiest tent after 8 pm. People from all walk of life come in and enjoy a relaxing time smoking their favourite flavoured tobacco and listen to live music or play backgammon or just socialize. The familiar faces of volunteers like Abu Dany, Ryma, Randa, Julie, Paula and maybe Paul, Diana, George, Wassim, Sarah, Hani, Chadi and others will be back this year to ensure smooth operation, smiling faces and a great smoking experience. will be one of the sponsors and will be providing all Arguilys, accessories and many kind of flavoured tobacco (apple, strawberry, vanilla, coconut, grape, cherry and more).

If you are in Ottawa or driving through Ottawa during this time, make sure you stop by and watch the Lebanese culture in action. If you have kids, they will enjoy the rides and the games available for them. Delicious Lebanese sandwishes will be served from a 40 feet BBQ along with other Lebanese treats like baklawa and maamoul. Don't forget to check out the famous lebanese Saj bread, baked fresh and served with Labneh and cucumber. Also, don't miss Micho's drink bar for your favourite beer. See you all there. Come on out and celebrate the summer with us.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Arguily Manufacturing. The Invasion of Chinese

Yes. You heard it right. The chinese have finally, and as expected, entered the ever growing market of arguily (Hookah) manufacturing. Whenerver I mention that I am importing some Arguilys for the summer rush season from China, people goes: China? The arab countries and Turkey have dominated this market for a long time and still do, but the low cost of labour in China and the ability of Chinese to manufacture anything they are asked to, have led some importers to go to China and start producing Arguilys in huge volume and exporting them to Arab countries, Europe and North America. Not only they copycat any arguily style or shape, they also produce vases in colours not seen before, and even adding pictures and sand stoning for a nice finish. The rise of the Lebanese Free Patriotic Movement Party, for example, who has the orange color as their party colour, have led to the production of orange vases and orange hoses, this colour was not produced before. This trend will spread to other colours representing political parties. The fist orange arguily will arrive to Canada around the end of March and I will be selling it on my website Other colours like ruby, red, yellow, light blue will also be available with matching bowl, hose and case.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Lebanese Fun Festival in Ottawa

It should be renamed the Arguily Fun Festival. Takes place during St. Elias feast in mid July every year, from Wednesday to Sunday. Over 40,000 unique visitors attend. Ride for kids, music, entertainment, food, raffle, lebanese traditions and crafts, pastry and coffee, and most importantly the Arguily tent (aka Beirut Nights). I have been organizing this tent for the past 8 years. The arguily tent is by far the bussiest tent in the festival. It spans 200' by 80'. Every year it gets busier and better. We serve in total about 500 arguilys, 20 250g of Flavoured Tobacco, and 2000 litres of water. We sell about 70. The rest we re-use the next festival. All proceeds of the festival are used to fund the mortgage of St. Elias Cathedral.

Every night we have a different musical program. Singers and entertainers are either local or come from Montreal and Toronto. Some of the singers who sang in the tent are Andre Ibrahim, Chadi Naddaf, Adel Kassab, Dunia el Deek, Mireille Nohra, Tabarek, Charbel Akiki, Pierre Nasa, Thaer Melko, Wissam Amar, and many more. Musicians such as Rabih Yazbek, Joe Nashef, Joe Ibrahim have also performed in the tent.

If you make a stop in Ottawa, Canada in mid-july, try to check it out. It is all over the newspaper at that time. Come in and enjoy the food and make sure you come into the Arguily tent and let one of our volunteers serve you an Arguily with Lebanese coffee, and maybe play backgammon with your friend.

Next year will be sponsoring the Arguily tent and provide all needed support to make it even a better smoking experience.

Enjoying Your Smoke

The secret of enjoying an arguily/hookah is your choice of Flavoured Tobacco (Shisha or moassal). Choices of shisha flovour is becoming more and more complicated. Manufacturers have produced tobacco from every natural fruit. Most people are sticking to double-apple and they are not inclined to try something else. It is like smoking, once you get hooked to a cigarette brand you never change it. Some makes a change when they are out of stock. The choice of flavour is numerous. I will list what I have come across but not neccessarily tried.
Double-apple, apple, lemon, pineapple, apricot, roses, peach, cappuccino, grape, coconut, cola, sweet melon, mixed fruit, mango, honey, cherry, jasmine, caramel, pistachio, coffee, mandarin, orange, mint, vanilla, rasberry, strawberry, honey dew, margarita, pina colada, chocolate mint, liquorice and plum.

Not one single manufacturer make all these flavours. Nakhleh Tobacco which is considered the leading and oldest producer (1913) and distributor of Flavoured Tobacco has the largest variety. Other notable brands are: Starbuzz, Sahara, Layalina, Al-Waha, Pharaoh, Al-Fakher, Al-Baz, Al-Basha, Al-Ouns, and Abd-ElKader.

The non-flavoured tobacco is only for heavy smokers. The Zaghloul (made by Nakhleh) is the only flavorless shisha. It is a very strong tobacco. It is very poplar among the older hookah smokers in the Arab region. If you are not experienced with this kind of smoke, I don't recommend that you try it, unless you are willing to take a 2-hour nap after.
Here in Canada, selling tobacco online is prohibited. My website sells Hydro herbal tobacco which is legal in Canada and is served by most arguily lounges. Hydro herbal is made in USA by fantasia and considered by far the best herbal (no-nicotine) molasse in the market.

Regardless what flavour you pick, keep this in mind:
  1. Keep your tobacco in tight container to preserve freshness

  2. Keep your tobacco in the fridge

  3. Sprinkle the tobacco in the arguily bowl and never press on it.

  4. For lasting smoke, never let the tobacco touch your aluminium foil. Leave a thin air space between the two.

  5. Refill tobacco when the smoke becomes harsh.

  6. If you dont smell the flavour, then you must have skipped the cleaning process. See my other article.

  7. Take your time and enjoy every PUFFFF!!!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

How do you pick an arguily hose?

hosesThey come is many varieties, shape and length. Some like them long, some like them short. Some like them curved (cobra), some like them straight. Some like them with long handle, some like it with short one.

The handle can be steel or wood. Some handles are simple, some are fancy. The hose itself can be made of plastic, fiber, leather, or paper. Some of them have steel hallow to prevent folding and eventually blocking. These are the good ones.

The long handle gives you a good and comfortable grab. Most regular prefer the long handle.
Some hoses are washable. Inspect the hose to see if it has a steel hallow, if it does then run water through it to get rid of build-up carbon monoxide, otherwise don't wash it, throw it away after few uses (up to 15). Make sure you use a grommet when you hook to the shaft to ensure air tightness.

No matter what you pick, ensure 3 things:

  1. Use disposable mouth piece (Mabsam) with every use. Give each of your guest his/her own mouth piece. (called "biz" by lebanese).
  2. When passing the hose around, out of respect, fold it near the top, make sure the end is pointing toward you, then pass on.
  3. Always wrap the hose around the arguily body. Never leave it on ground.

Proper Arguily Set-up

Everyone sets it up differently to suit their taste and traditions. These are my own ways. You can experiment with various techniques and you will learn more and more as you become a regular.

  1. Have all these stuff handy: Base, Tray, Tong, Bowl with Bowl Grommets, and Hose with Hose Grommets and the main shaft.
  2. Fill up your Base with water, you will know if you have enough water when you insert the shaft whose one end should go in about 1 inch in water.
  3. Moisten the Base Grommet using a small amount of water.
  4. Insert your Shaft into the Base. Make sure it is tight.
  5. Place the tray over the top of the Shaft.
  6. Place the Bowl grommet over the top of the Shaft.
  7. Prepare the bowl. Add some flavoured tobacco, do NOT press, keep them fluffy. I loosely sprinkle them. Make sure that when you put the foil cover, it does not touch the tobacco, leave a thin air layer between the foil and the tobacco.
  8. Poke small tiny holes into the Foil if you are not using a Metal Bowl Screen.
  9. Place the completed Bowl on top of the Shaft, securing it onto the Bowl Grommet.
  10. Using the Tongs, light a piece of Charcoal and place it on top of the foil.
  11. Take a couple puffs in order to get the Arguily going.
  12. Sit back, relax, and invite your neighbour.


These are my own hints, if you come up with something eles or different, let me know.

  1. When you light the charcoal make sure it is fully red. So you dont inhale any carbon dioxide
  2. Take a short break between each buff (20-30 seconds)
  3. Always place the arguily on ground, not on table. You on top.
  4. To decrease the intensity of the smoke, you can place the charcoal on the edge and rotate it around the edge every 10-15 minutes
  5. If the taste become unpleasant, refill the bowl if you want to smoke more.
  6. Every 1

How to enjoy Hookah / Arguily smoking?

Ok, I don't intend to write this for people under the age of 18. Please know that smoking of hookah / arguily can cause cancer and smoking by pregnant women may result in fetal injury, premature birth, and low birth weight. This is equivalent to smoking and even worst, so before you start, think about it.

If you want to do it just for pleasure do not smoke more than once a week and for a maximum of 1 hour, don't smoke it alone, have friends share it with you. Another hint, don't smoke at home or enclosed placed like a garage. Especially if chirldren live at the house. The smoke can be absorbed by your drywall or wood if the house is not well ventilated.

Why I say hookah / arguily? I should also say nargile. It is known under many different names all over the world. From hubbly-bubbly to water pipe to smoke pipe to hookah to nargile to shisha to arguily (that's our lebanese way).

Effect of weather: Smoking is only pleasant when the weather is pleasant. We all enjoy it in the mountain where the weather is warm and not too hot. In tropical cities like San Diego and Vancouver, restaurants serve arguily throughout the year. While it is only served during the summer in the North East part of USA and Canada like Ottawa and Boston.

When you smoke an arguily, you have time to think and reflect. It teaches you patience and tolerance. It gives you an appreciation of a good company and good focus. Arguily smokers have a much more balanced approach to life than cigarette smokers do. The smoke is much cooler than cigarette smoke, and lightly intoxicating.

Practice good hygiene: Clean the arguily with soap after every use. Clean every piece of it. Take it apart and clean piece by piece.

  • Vase: Use a brush to clean the interior from any nicotine buildup, soak it and rince well, make sure it dries before you add water again for next use. Any little bit of soap left in the vase can hurt you and cause you diziness.
  • Metal/Wood Shaft: Use a long thin brush made especially for this. Soak the brush and do several in and out brushing then rinse well.
  • Bowl: Experianced people don't like to clean the clay bowl, only the ceramic and steel bowl. Clay bowl can suck water and eventually breaks. But I would clean it and just run water over it and not soak it.
  • Hose: See my other article about Hoses.
  • Tray: Just wash it with soap.
  • Cleaning rust or colouring: Use lemon to clean copper metal to bring the shine back. Do this once in a while to give it the good look.

These are basic guidelines to enjoy your arguily experience. As you become a regular, you will master the art of smoking arguily in and out.