steam stones

Using Hookah steam stones? Pay attention!

A large number of hookah vendors and online shops say that using steam stones on the shisha would supposedly be ‘safer and healthier’. Unfortunately, this is not true. Because pebbles release the harmful substance glycerin, it can be bad for your health. Below we will explain it to you!

The origin of steam stones

Like cream and jelly, you can replace shisha tobacco with steam stones (steaming stones). These are pebbles that can absorb certain liquids very easily. These stones were first developed in Germany in 2010, after Europe banned water pipe smoking for hookah pubs and shisha lounges.

Why are hookah steaming stones popular?

According to many vendors, steam stones do not contain harmful substances such as tobacco, nicotine and tar. Therefore, they do not fall under the Tobacco Act and hence are allowed everywhere.

Unlike tobacco, you do not have to pay excise duty on them. They are thus more economical than the usual shisha tobacco. Some people even put them under the tap afterwards, so they can be used multiple times and absorb liquids longer.

In advertisements, manufacturers talk about the pleasant long-lasting smoking experience and the money savings. They also say that the steam stones do not burn, so you won’t notice a foul taste. There are plenty of flavors available, often with a candy or sweet alcohol taste.

These manufacturers also claim it is less harmful to your health than water pipe tobacco. After all, no nicotine is added to most stone types, so no addiction can develop. Some people choose to mix steaming stones with shisha tobacco.

Benefits of Hookah Stones

There are countless advantages of hookah stones or steam stones. Some of them are listed as follows:

  • Tobacco-Free Experience: One of the primary advantages of hookah steam stones is their tobacco-free nature. They offer a way to enjoy the ritualistic and social aspects of hookah smoking without the risks associated with tobacco. This makes them an appealing choice for individuals who prefer to avoid nicotine or tobacco-related health concerns.
  • Reduced Health Risks: Since steam stones lack tobacco and nicotine, they eliminate many of the health risks associated with traditional hookah smoking. Users can enjoy the flavors and the experience without exposing themselves to harmful chemicals, tar, or nicotine addiction.
  • Flavors and Aromas: Steam stones come in a wide array of flavors, offering users the opportunity to explore diverse tastes and aromas. From fruity blends to minty freshness and exotic flavors, the variety caters to different preferences, enhancing the overall hookah experience.
  • Temperature Control: Unlike traditional shisha tobacco, steam stones allow for better temperature control during a hookah session. They don’t burn like tobacco, which can sometimes lead to harsh smoke or an unpleasant taste if overheated. This feature enables users to have more consistent and enjoyable sessions without the risk of overheating or burning the product.
  • Hydration: Glycerin, a common ingredient in hookah stones, helps maintain moisture during the smoking session. This can lead to a smoother and more enjoyable smoking experience, as the vapors produced tend to be less harsh on the throat compared to dry smoke. It can be particularly beneficial for those sensitive to dry or harsh smoking sensations.
  • Longevity of Flavor: Hookah stones have the advantage of retaining their flavor for an extended period during a smoking session. Unlike traditional shisha, which can lose its taste as the session progresses, the infused flavors in hookah stones tend to last longer, providing a consistently pleasant experience throughout the entire session.
  • Smooth and Flavorful Sessions: The hookah stones are designed to produce smooth and flavorful smoke when heated properly. The glycerin-infused stones release vapors that carry the chosen flavors, providing an enjoyable and aromatic session for hookah enthusiasts.
  • Reusability: Unlike traditional shisha tobacco, hookah stones can be reused multiple times. Once the session is complete, the stones can be cleaned and reused with a different flavor, making them a cost-effective option in the long run.
  • Easy to Use: Hookah steam stones are simple to set up and use. They require a similar preparation process to traditional hookah sessions, involving placing the stones in the bowl, heating them with charcoal, and enjoying the flavors through the hookah pipe.
  • Less Odor and Residue: Compared to tobacco-based hookah, hookah stones produce less lingering odor and residue. This can be beneficial for indoor use or situations where managing smoke and smell is important.
  • Social Aspect: Hookah smoking is often a social activity, and steam stones allow individuals to partake in this communal experience without the concerns of exposing others to secondhand smoke or the addictive properties of tobacco.

Regulatory Compliance:  In some regions with strict regulations on tobacco use, hookah steam stones offer a way for establishments to provide hookah services without violating tobacco-related laws or facing certain restrictions.

How do you use steam stones?

Glycerin is the base of any shisha consumable. You shake the steam stones beforehand so that they absorb the glycerin. You put the stones in a bowl with a raised hole in the middle so that the glycerin from the smoking steam stones can flow through the column of the shisha. Then you put aluminum foil over the tobacco head and poke holes in it. When you see a white vapor, the glycerin contained in the steam stones evaporates.

Why should you pay attention to steam stones?

The RIVM, the government’s main public health advisor in the Netherlands, examined vapor steaming stones in 2018. They showed that the aroma released from the vapor can lead to allergic reactions. The RIVM also did not rule out the possibility that toxic substances are produced when the steam stones are heated. So it is questionable whether the pebbles are a healthier alternative.

The High Health Council (the Belgian RIVM) also examined the possible addictive and toxicological dangers of the stones’ vapor/smoke. It found that using a hookah with steam stones poses risks with regard to addiction, including the possible reinforcement of the “social acceptability” of smoking.