Top 5 Mistakes That Rookie Smokers Make
Everyone makes mistakes, especially when you're first starting out. You've just picked up your first Chinese hookah from the local head shop. It comes with a porcelain vortex bowl, a short and un-washable hose, and tiny base. You've picked up some quicklites (because you don't know any better), some Fantasia (because the shop owner highly recommended it), and you think you're ready to get smoking. Fast forward maybe a year or so. You've got yourself a nice Khalil Mamoon hookah, a nice washable hose, some natural coals, and some better tobacco like Al Fakher. You've made a world of improvements in the last year, and you're feeling pretty good about what you're doing now. Yet even with these improvements, there still may be some mistakes you're making, yet you aren't even aware of it. Here at B2, we like to promote safe, healthy, and awesome smoking. So today, for our weekly blog, we're going to talk about the five most common mistakes that you can make when smoking. Things that may or may not be legend, myth, rumor, or just plain experimenting. Without any further ado, let's jump into it. Everyone makes mistakes, especially when starting out...5. More heat means better smoking This is a relatively common one. It goes along with proper heat management, and I've heard of a lot of people saying that more coals on a bowl means that you'll get more smoke, or that more heat means more flavor. First of all, both of these things are wrong. Let's begin with the most common of the two - more coals on a bowl, means more smoke. More coals on a bowl does not mean more smoke, it just means more heat on your bowl, meaning it's going to be easier to burn your shisha. Unless you're using a super heat-resistant brand of shisha, such as Nakhla, for example, you shouldn't do this. Starbuzz has no need for more than three coals on a bowl, and even that is pushing it sometimes. The same can be said for most modern brands of shisha, and even more so for dark leaf shisha. Second - more heat does not equate to more flavor. This goes hand-in-hand with what we just discussed regarding heat management. If anything, it means less flavor, as you're evaporating the glycerin from the shisha much quicker, and again, more than likely burning the shisha. Burning the shisha may mean more flavor if you really like a gross, burned taste. Proper heat management is key, regardless of what you're smoking. Three coals is almost always enough heat for whatever you're smoking, and so long as you're rotating your coals at the right time, your sessions will be delightful. If a bowl feels like it's smoking a tad warm, don't be afraid to take a coal off. If you're not getting enough smoke, maybe your pack needs a bit of work. All in all, more heat does not equate to better smoking.

4. If it's expensive, it's better

This is something that equates to almost all purchases, but it's something I see in the hookah community a lot regardless - if something is more expensive, it's inherently better. This, as with anything, is a farce, and ends up making more money for companies that don't deserve it. Just because something is more expensive does not make it better; what makes it better is the key components that comprise the hookah: how well will it smoke, will it stand the test of time, and how does it look (though that's more opinion than anything). The best way to make a safe purchase is research - look up what you're interested in buying, whether it be reviews on the product, overall specs for it, or even just opinions that you can find on online forums about the hookah itself. It doesn't hurt to ask, and it can save you from wasting your money in the long term. The same can also be said about cheap products - just because it's inexpensive doesn't mean it won't smoke well. There are tons of value options out there, like Nakhla and Al Fakher for shisha, and Shika hookahs for actual pipes. The key here, again, is just to do some research. Make sure you know what to expect before you drop a ton of cash on something.

3. A bigger hookah means bigger clouds

This is a common misconception that I hear relatively often, even from some more seasoned smokers - taller hookahs mean bigger clouds. This isn't directly true, though size does matter when picking out a hookah, but saying that a taller hookah will give bigger clouds is just wrong. Now size is something that's very important here at B2, hence the innovative B2 stem that allows you to choose the height of your stem. Essentially, when you have a shorter stem, the distance that you're pulling is much shorter, so you end up pulling through the stem quicker than what you may mean to. The air is moving through the bowl much faster, which in turn, cooks your shisha faster than normal, and can equate to a bowl that might not last as long, because the shisha is cooking much faster than need be. On the other end, when you have a taller session, you have a longer distance that the air needs to travel through your hookah, so the bowl won't cook nearly as fast, essentially prolonging your session, to a certain extent. This is why I think this rumor came about, and why it is still talked about. So yes, it does have some merit to it, but a bigger hookah doesn't equate to bigger clouds, that all comes from proper heat management.

2. Ice in the base means a better session

Again, this is something I see a lot of people doing,  and many even swearing by it - ice in the base makes for a better session. This is another thing that can be argued, but there's a main point to consider when deciding whether or not you want to put ice in your base. This reason is flavor loss, and is the why I personally argue against putting ice in the base. When you put ice in the base, yes, your smoke is cooled, but you also dull the flavor that you're smoking. You end up cooling the smoke to a point where the flavor doesn't become as prominent, and sometimes can even make the flavor vanish entirely. If you have a bowl that's smoking extremely warm, ice in the base won't help you nearly as much as working on your pack, and proper heat management.

1. Milk in the base gives you better clouds

Man... I really didn't want to go over this one. This one is the more frequent mistake I see, regardless of where I see it. People always argue that milk in the base makes for denser clouds. This one... hurts, and is probably the epitome of a newbie mistake. Milk does not give denser clouds. Putting milk in your base is a bad idea because it can corrode your stem, and even create bacteria that, if not cleaned properly, can be seriously detrimental to your health. Now, this is something I've seen argued almost everywhere at some point in time or another, and I believe it's because of the density that milk has. Milk is denser than water, so when smoking it gives a slightly more restricted draw, which, in turn, provides denser clouds because of the rate at which you're pulling. That being said, there are much safer ways to give yourself a more restricted draw, such as using a diffuser, raising your water level, or altering how you're packing your bowl. All in all, just don't do this. It's a no-win situation, and can easily ruin a stem for good.

I hope this list provided some help to all of you smokers just starting out, and maybe even some veteran smokers (it's okay, you can admit it). At B2, we like to promote safe, healthy, and delightful smoke sessions, so hopefully this article can help you do just that. As always, thank you so much for reading, and happy smokes!

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