Q: My hookah doesn't seem to be smoking right. What do I do?

A: 1. Check your bowl. The most common mistake is packing the shisha too tightly. Make sure that you break the shisha apart and lightly sprinkle it into the bowl to the top. Don't fill it past the top because you'll be packing the shisha when you cover it with a metal screen or foil.

2. Check your charcoal. If the charcoal is covered with ash, there may not be enough heat getting to the shisha. Use your tongs to tap the charcoal ash off into your hookah tray and place the red charcoal back on your head.

3. Check your gaskets. Make sure that all of the components of the hookah are fitting nicely together. A snug fit will make the smoke flow more efficiently. You may check for a burnt gasket. Some hookahs expose the gasket and are easily burnt by charcoal that is moved around in the tray.

4 . Check your hoses. If you have multiple hoses, make sure that all ends are plugged properly. For example, if you have two or three hoses on your hookah and there is only one person smoking, you'll need to remove the hoses and use rubber stoppers or tape to block the hose holes.

Q: What is the difference between smoking hookah tobacco and smoking cigarettes?

A:All major shisha manufacturers have nicotine listed at 0.5% and tar listed at 0.0%. On a pack of Marlboro Full Flavor 100's Filter Soft Pack, there is 16 miligrams of tar and 1.2 miligrams of nicotine (these numbers are listed on the philip moriss website, www.philipmorris.com). Most cigarettes contain over 2.0% in nicotine. "Among the findings, Marlboro had as much as 9.6 percent freebase nicotine; Camel contained 2.7 percent; Winston had 5 percent to 6.2 percent; and Gauloises Blondes was found to have 5.7 percent to 7.5 percent." ("'Freebase' Nicotine Thought to Make Cigarettes More Addictive" 30 July. 2003. www.nacsonline.com (26 August. 2004)). Although there is no tar and less nicotine, Hookah smoking is still smoking. Please be aware of the risks of tobacco before choosing to smoke.

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