“Can I get Double Apple?”The clerk hands over a slender box that smells like a freshly baked apple pie.
It’s called shisha, flavored tobacco from the Middle East.
Shisha is traditionally smoked in a hookah, a water pipe resembling a genie lamp with hoses coming out of it, and a holder on the top for the shisha and coals.
The gooey, sticky shisha is a raw form of tobacco mixed with molasses.
The aroma of it often resembles the name of the flavor on the package.
Double Apple smells like apple and cherry like cherry, etc.
To smoke shisha, you need a hookah.
The bowl atop the hookah is for shisha, and foil with holes is placed over it.
Then charcoal is put over the foil and lit.
Grab a hose sprouting from the hookah, it’s time to smoke.
Originating in the Middle East, the tradition of smoking shisha from a hookah is a relaxing ritual that has won people over across the world.
According Joanna Paterson, Owner of Smoke King, hookah sales have soared.
“Smoking hookahs and going to hookah bars is the new coffee shop trend,” Paterson said.
“I am constantly busy, and there is always new faces and business.”
Unless there is an accident, hookahs last for a long time.
Paterson’s return customers are those in search of more shisha, new flavors or parts for their hookahs such as hoses and mouth pieces.
“I have a hard time keeping some of the flavors stocked sometimes,” Paterson said.
This middle-eastern ritual has caught on in the Valley with hookah bars and cafes popping up along the streets.
Richie Tudor, 29, goes to hookah bars at least once a week.
“It is a way for me to find myself again in my hectic life,” Tudor said.
Sitting in a corner area of the Oasis Café, Tudor is alone. He just ordered chocolate shisha.
“The best part is that I am going to sit here and enjoy this by myself and no one is going to bug me about what I want next or if I am ready for the check,” he said.
There is no sense of urgency when partaking in hookah smoking.
“It is meant as a relaxing ritual that shouldn’t be rushed,” Paterson said.
The hookah is designed to hold multiple hoses making it a social affair.
“The whole process a ritual, getting the shisha ready, placing the coals over the shisha, and smoking it with friends,” Paterson said.
Shannon Peabody, a waitress at Olive Branch, enjoys working in a hookah bar.
“I don’t have to rush around all night. The customers are in no hurry and I like that,” she said.
The relaxed scene and diversity within the hookah bar is what appeals to Peabody.
She has become addicted to the scents of shisha and is happy to get away from cigarette smoke.
“It smells so good, once I almost licked my fingers after loading up the shisha,” Peabody said.
“I caught myself, and I was like ew, it’s not going to taste as good as it smells,” she said.
Although it is a form of relaxation and a hobby for some, physicians urge students to remember that it is still tobacco and has the same negative effects smoking cigarettes do.