There’s a new hookah on the street and she leaves without a trace… on your lungs. Shiazo Steam Stone Shisha provides a new smoking experience that uses Pressure Injection Method (PIM) technology developed in Germany to deliver a burn and stink-free smoke that feels and tastes like the real thing. Recently introduced in the United Arab Emirates, this hot, porous new trend is said to provide all the pleasure without any of the numerous health hazards associated with the conventional narghile/hookah/shisha pipes – whatever you call them. In theory, at least.
Steaming, not smoking
The National interviewed Gulf-based Leila Ostovar, the Marketing Director of Protract, which is the regional distributor of “healthy” shisha stones. Ostovar explains how Shiazo Steam Stone Shisha works:
“It’s a steam hookah that replaces tobacco leaves with 100 per cent natural stones,” she told the paper.
“People can use them in exactly the same way they would a normal shisha, except when heat is applied to the hookah-head containing the stones, the aroma fluids within them reach their boiling point and vaporise into a thick, flavourful steam instead of tobacco smoke,” she added.
Since users ingest no tobacco or sugar, Ostovar claims this is a far healthier way to enjoy the shisha experience, adding that a regular user, blindfolded, would not be able to distinguish between the stones or tar and nicotine-laced shisha. The steam doesn’t burn. Nor does it make hair and clothes stink.
The company reiterates this message and compares shiazo steam stones to e-cigarettes.
“Shiazo does not generate smoke, because smoke is defined as a combustion product of organic substances with a mixture of solid particles and air. Shiazo is also free of nicotine. By using Shiazo with an electronic charcoal instead of real charcoal also no PAH, heavy metals or carbon monoxide occurs either.”
Believe it or not, there’s an entire forum devoted to e-cigs and what some people are now calling e-hookahs. A few members of this subculture went back and forth about which is better: e-cigs or e-hookahs.
“well i see e-cigs more of a personal vaporizer (pv) that you just have to yourself. i see hookahs meant to be enjoyed in a social gathering. social vaporizer (sv)? haha. also hookahs have the vapor passing thru water to cool it down. e-cig’s dont do that [sic],” wrote “ECF veteran” vi3tl2ice.
Hmm. Interesting choice of language: social vaporizer. I can’t help that it reminds me of the vapoorizer, a version of which an Israeli inventor actually developed!
In any case, what do the experts have to say about sucking down the steam of aromatic rocks?
The National talked to Shabash K from the Prime Healthcare Group in Dubai, who is not worried about people filling up their lungs with the steam from aromatic stones.
“Steam as such will not cause any problem; it humidifies the airways and liquefies phlegm in your lungs allowing you to spit it out,” the pulmonologist told the paper. “Unlike tobacco, steam won’t cause problems in terms of burning the pulmonary area.”
There are fundamental differences in how e-cigs and steam stones are made and function, but it’s too soon to give this new product the green light. After the fervor of “healthy cigarettes” swept some smokers off their habitual feet, studies emerged that e-cigarettes aren’t as innocuous as they first appeared.
:: The National