Chinese Imported Hookahs: A Danger to Users?

As more and more toys manufactured in China are recalled due to safety concerns, I think it's about time that someone speaks out about the thousands of hookahs manufactured in China under the same conditions as those recalled toys! Perhaps because of the disdain many people have for smoking in general there hasn't been any serious examination of the materials used in the manufacture of Chinese hookahs. American consumers are rightfully concerned about lead paint on toys, yet hookah smokers seem to be ignoring the very real possibility that the hookah they own may pose the same dangers as the toys being pulled off store shelves!

If the hookah you own looks like any of the photos in this post, you ought to be worried because no matter what you were told when you purchased it, these hookahs were all ma
nufactured in China. The materials used in the manufacturing process in China are chosen not for their safety or durability, but for their low cost. Anyone who has ever come to our shop with a Chinese made hookah in tow has had the same complaint: the material painted on the shaft to give it color comes off after exposure to the water in the base. Think about it, hookah fans! If the shaft of your hookah is painted and that paint wears off due to its being submerged in water, what materials are being emitted into the water and then passed through it to your lungs? Do you have any clue what that paint is made of or if it contains lead?

Not sure if your hookah was manufactured in China? Here are some things to look for on your hookah to determine if it was made in China:
  • It comes in a hard shell carrying case. (Only hookahs made in China come in these cases! Some unscrupulous eBay sellers are calling these Chinese fakes "Egyptian" hookahs because they purchase the Chinese ones after they have been imported to Egypt. Just because you bought a Chinese hookah in Egypt does NOT make it an authentic Egyptian hookah, peeps!)
  • It has a ceramic bowl or head. (Authentic Egyptian hookahs come with bowls made from the rich clay found along the banks of the Nile River. Why would the Egyptians import Chinese porcelain bowls when they've got a riverbed lined with some of the best clay in the world and artisans who earn their living turning that clay into products?)
  • The shaft is painted the same color as the base. (Hookahs made in Egypt never, never have painted shafts! The authentic Egyptian hookah will have a stainless steel or brass shaft which means you have a choice of two colors only -- silver and gold. If your hookah has a blue, green, red, or black shaft, it was made in China.)
  • The base is plain or painted with a design that is easy to reproduce. (Because they are made by machinery, Chinese hookahs typically have no design on the base. No artisan has ever touched the Chinese made hookah, thus it is plain and undecorated. Any hookahs made in China that do have designs on them are so pathetically decorated that it is easy to see that a machine, not an artist, did the work on them. These hookahs are virtually identical in appearance with no originality to them whatsoever. Boring!)
  • It has a "washable" hose. (Since we've been manufacturing hookah hoses in Egypt for four generations, we know that there is no such thing as a truly washable hose. Why? Because inside each hose is a wire coil around which the tubing that makes up the hose itself is wrapped. Even if the exterior layer is made of leather, pleather, or some other man made material, the inside is still a wire coil that will rust and degrade over time. The process is only sped up when water is run through the so-called "washable" hose! Honestly, the washable hose is a clever marketing strategy; however, the truth about them will win in the end.)

  • It has flashing lights in or on the shaft. (No self-respecting Egyptian hookah manufacturer would ever debase a much loved cultural icon with flashing lights. Barnum and Bailey were not Egyptian, and cheap tricks won't impress the true hookah enthusiast!)

  • Its hoses are made of pleather and have none of the characteristic decorative elements characteristic of the authentic Egyptian hookah hose. (Authentic Egyptian hookahs have marvelous hoses that are designed to enhance the smoking experience in a variety of ways. First, they must be aesthetically pleasing because so much of the hookah experience is about social interaction. Who wants to share a hookah with friends when the hose is just plain or just plain ugly? Besides, fancier hoses are also a social determiner; people with money can afford to have more elaborately decorated hoses to share with their friends. Second, length and circumference varies based on the size of the hookah to which the hose is attached. Whereas the Chinese hookahs are a uniform circumference irrespective of the height of the hookah, authentic Egyptian hookahs have hoses made to fit the height of the pipe. The bigger the pipe, the fatter the hose. Third, authentic Egyptian hookahs come with the same number of hoses as the hookah will hold. Chinese made hookahs may be able to hold up to four hoses, but it's not likely that you will get four hoses with your hookah! This is another clever marketing strategy on the part of those who deal in Chinese made products.)

  • It has an acrylic base. (Authentic Egyptian hookahs always have a glass base blown by a master craftsman and more often than not, hand painted by an artist. You will never find an authentic Egyptian hookah with an acrylic base -- NEVER!)

If the hookah you own looks like any of the photos in this post, you've been had! Your hookah was manufactured in China. There is nothing authentic about it, unless you consider an authentic fraud a positive. If you do own a hookah that was made in China, you should be especially concerned about using it considering the recent recalls of Chinese made products other than toys.

Comment (1)


7:59 PM

Oh' I never knew that before, I currently planning to buy like that. Anyway, thanks for sharing this very informative post. I am well informed.

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