In recent times, we have all served as witnesses of the booming e-cig and e-hookah industry. Today, from workplaces, universities, nightlife establishments, and more, electronic cigarettes and hookahs seem to be everywhere. With companies like Blu and NJOY getting commercial time, it’s quickly becoming mainstream.
And with continued growth and industry proliferation, traditional tobacco brands like Marlboro are quickly being overshadowed by their electronic counterparts; especially at large industry conventions and trade shows namely the 2014 Tobacco Plus Expo.
Fueling this fire of growth is hookah.
From a historical perspective, the essence of hookah originates from the Middle East and the Arab world around the 16th century, as individuals would smoke waterpipe as a part of culture and tradition. It served as a social event, “a sign of a good time”, just like in western world, alcohol serves as the catalyst for social gatherings. Social smoking is usually done with a single or double hose hookah. Most cafés in the Middle East offer shishas (actual tobacco, flavoring, and molasses that is used for smoking hookah). Cafes are widespread and are amongst the chief social gathering places in the Arab world.
In the past few decades in the United States, as more and more middle eastern immigrants have established themselves and have fused into the diverse American melting pot, hookah – being an important part of middle eastern culture, has developed a stronghold in metropolitan areas nationwide.
What existed before as a practice fueled by tradition and culture, has now become a nationwide social phenomena. Hookah allows it’s users and consumers an activity that fosters the gathering of family, friends, and conversation – while still retaining sobriety. From college students, to young professionals, smoking hookah is a way to relax, meet up with friends, converse, and enjoy company.
It should come as no surprise that with the introduction of e-cigs in the tobacco industry, electronic hookahs has quickly proliferated as a booming place to be to observe exciting growth.
5. Khalil Mamoon
The infamous "KM" Hookah is perhaps the most well known hookah in the world. In essence, they stand as a business with a rich history of traditions fusing both quality and culture into all of their products. Founded by the Mamoon family in Cairo, KM Hookah made its first entrance onto the TPC scene this year and their presence was definitely felt. Current owner, Sharif Mamoon was seen being interactive and entertaining his many visitors at the show.
Their story begins in the sand dunes of Cairo, with the name Khalil Mamoon stemming from the creator of their respective hookahs. Originally a specialist antiques restorer, Khalil Mamoon manifested his passion for hookah into a family wide business. Now in it’s third generation, and continuing to grow, they represent genuine culture and quality infused traditional hookah beautifully hand-made in Cairo. Egypt. This was the first time they were at this expo and presented their entire portfolio of beautiful products.
For many of you, Starbuzz is no stranger. Known around the US as a premium brand when it comes to shisha tobacco and hookahs, Starbuzz has decided to do something completely different this time around at TPC – as they introduced and presented one of the first mass produced American manufactured hookahs. If you have been a loyal customer of Starbuzz time and time again, all it takes is one glance at these new bad boys to notice their exceptional quality complete with Nasa grade aluminum, a surgical steel inner tube and heat resistance. And if that’s not enough, they’ve added a five-year warranty on their entire line.
Kudos to Starbuzz this year for making a big splash with an innovative high quality product.
3. Dream Hose
Yes, that’s what the company is called, and with good reason. For all you avid hookah smokers, I’m sure you’ve found yourself frustrated with the hose you currently use – not getting the right volume of smoke you’re looking for, getting the “ghost” effect feeling where there’s still traces of the previous flavor you smoked left inside of the hose, or getting a harsh feeling when smoking out of it with the feeling that there might be something clogged inside it.
Dream Hose provides a beautiful solution to solve all of these pain points all with one product. The Dream Hose or D-Hose leverages a glass tip with a medical grade hose resistant to heat up to 600F. It offers unparalleled smoke potency and volume, it’s literally so smooth once you use this, you will never want to go back. And that’s not all, you can easily clean it with… your dishwasher. Yes, that’s right, no more of that awkward cleaning you had to do at your sink trying to drain out all previous residue.
Dream Hose is a classic example of a company that identified problems or pain points with the large hookah consumer base, and built a product that solves several of them. They have successfully produced the best hookah hose in the market, hands down. Congrats to them.
2. Art Hookah
There’s BMW, Audi, Lexus, and Mercedes, and then there’s Tesla.
Art Hookah is the Tesla in the industry when it comes to Hookahs. Their hookahs are completely made of glass – with very close attention to beautiful aesthetic design and detail. One of the most exciting parts of being at a trade show, is watching where the crowd meanders to. This year, Art Hookah was certainly one of the main attractions of the event. Asides from the hookah itself, they comes equipped with water beads that a smoker or bystander can look into, adding color, beautiful lighting and functionality. With the knowledge that glass hookahs are the future, Art Hookah had the right foresight in creating a product that screams “luxury” or “designer”.
I’m very excited for Art Hookah and congratulate them on taking a “designer” approach to differentiate themselves in the hookah industry.
1. Luxury Lites
In every industry, there’s always an obsessive and passionate continual innovator. It’s the company that takes pride that everything they touch, do, work on, design, manufacture and produce is something new, different, and industry changing. They keep an active pulse on their consumer base, and avidly take risks to provide products that cater to them directly.
Luxury Lites had entered the booming e-cig industry at the right time and has never stopped innovating. Led by 21-year-old Co-Founder and CEO, Yaseen Waqar, Luxury Lites was one of first companies to understand the popularity of e-cigs. But instead of just accepting it, Luxury Lites decided to leverage the popularity of the hookah industry to create their flagship product, the E-hookah, - providing hookah smokers around the world their favorite flavors on the go.
Now, they are introducing yet another game changer, the FLUX. The Flux allows the user to attach it to any traditional hookah and transform the entire hookah into an e-hookah. The user may then fill the 50mL tank with e-juice or e-liquid and vape through the hookah providing an unprecedented experience while still retaining the elements of a traditional hookah.
The FLUX’s vapor production is literally extraordinary, I felt like I was blowing clouds! And if you thought, Luxury Lites flavors in their e-hookahs were already good, the FLUX will be ten times more potent. With it’s very simplistic intuitive nature and ease of use (literally plug and play), FLUX will be a heavy hitter in the industry. Waqar says they will be ready for sale mid-March 2014.
Founder and CEO Yaseen Waqar, left, and Sales Manager John Reul, right working at TPC 2014 in Las Vegas.