A new trend and one that is quickly gaining traction in the smoking community is the e-cigarette or vapor.  An e-cigarette is a handheld electronic device that vaporizes a flavored liquid that contains propylene glycol, glycerin, flavoring, and usually nicotine.  The user inhales the liquid and it’s meant to mimic the action of smoking.

Vaping is definitely the new ‘in’ thing to do; but how does it compare to smoking a hookah?  At Social Smoke, we’ve always considered Vapors as an extension of the hookah minus the tobacco.  Something cool but not even close to the true awesomeness that is the Hookah.  Admittedly we’re a bit biased, so in the interest of fairness, we’ve pitted the two against each other in this post to give a rudimentary perspective on both.


The Device

As stated above, most e-cigarettes or Vapors are small handheld devices that are easily portable.  They are powered by batteries that need to be charged separate from the Vapor, or through a USB port.  Because of their size, they can easily be carried anywhere and smoked anywhere smoking is allowed.

While there have been great strides lately to make the hookah smaller and more portable, (in fact Social Smoke will be featuring the a portable hookah for sampling at its next tradeshow) its accessibility is still limited by its size and equipment needed.

The Blends

There are thousands of different blends for both the Vapor and the Hookah.  You can pretty much find any flavor or mix you want online or at any tobacco shop.  In our opinion, while vapor juice is flavorful, it’s missing the full bodied taste you would get from any Hookah blend.  Maybe it’s the tobacco, but vapor juice ends up tasting a bit shallow when pitted against the same flavor of Hookah tobacco.  Both can induce great smoke clouds, but the Hookah’s are heavier and carry the flavor scent better.  You get a better flavor experience from the hookah.

The Cost

Buying a starter Vapor set with battery and 30ml of Juice will run you about $120 to $150, about the same price a starter Hookah set with hose, coal, and blend will cost.  So they run about the same on initial investment.

If you regularly vape, then you will find that you need spend anywhere from $50 to $100 a month on coils and juice to maintain your device. And as your smoking increases so will the need to upgrade to stronger vaping device to handle the amount of use and cut down on the need to spend more on coils.  Many of the higher end Vapors start at $175 and go up from there.

The monthly cost of maintaining your hookah as a regular smoker without extra accessories usually runs at about $75 month.  Everyday smokers would need to upgrade to a higher quality hookah and hose which start at $150 and go up from there. But because most people don’t smoke Hookah on a daily basis the average monthly cost for a person who smokes a few times a month could fall below $15 a month.


Both the Vapor and the Hookah are considered ‘use by choice’  products.  In the new regulations set  by the FDA that were passed earlier this year, the hookah and vapor were proclaimed to be tobacco products, despite the fact that the Vapor doesn’t use tobacco.  The FDA qualified this with the fact that both products have nicotine as a main ingredient.  You can find blends for the hookah and vapor without nicotine, but as far as the FDA is concerned, both pose health risks to the smoker.


One of the perks of smoking Hookah is the ability to share with friends and have a communal smoking experience.  You can attach several hoses, or share one and pass it around. In fact, that experience has played a major role in popularizing the Hookah in the States.  The effort put behind setting up a hookah makes it something you want to share with friends, and the unique and full bodied textures of the blends, puts the experience on a whole other level.

Vaping on the other hand, is more a solitary experience.  The size and portability of device actually works against it when it comes to creating a communal smoking experience.  People do share, but it’s not expected and can be as unsatisfying as having to share a cigarette.  You just don’t get the same satisfaction. There is however a huge and very active online community of vapers testing, sharing tips, recipes, and modding devices.


While portability and accessibility works in the Vapors favor, we’ve always felt that vaping is great when you need a hookah fix, but no where near as satisfying as sitting down with your hookah and enjoying a smoke. And, while there are tons of blends to choose from, the vapor juice doesn’t carry the full bodied taste that hookah blends do.  So while vaping is fun and accessible, we feel that it will never live up to the experience you get from smoking a hookah.

What do you think?  Please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts and experiences with both the hookah and the Vapor in the comments below.  And if you have any questions about this post or any other post on our blog, please feel free to email us through our contact us page on our website.