A hookah is a smoking device that consists of a glass vase filled with water and one or more pipes for inhaling flavoured tobacco called shisha. The instrument has found its way into Western culture in recent years, although its origins lay in northern India where it was first used for smoking opium and hashish. Hookahs are traditionally large, ornate smoking devices but increased interest and a rise in popularity has led manufacturers to produce small, portable mini hookahs for private use in consumer's homes.
Take the hookah stem with the vase gasket attached and plug it into the vase, so that it is air tight. The hookah stem is a long tube which carries the smoke into the water to cool it. Many mini hookahs will have a fixed metal tray for the coals at the top of the hookah stem, but if yours doesn't then affix the metal tray around the top of the stem.
Attach the gasket to the hose end and insert it into the port on the hookah stem. Place a finger over the hole at the top of the hookah stem and inhale through the pipe, to check the air flow. If little or no air is coming through the pipe, then the hookah has been set up correctly.
Take out the hookah stem and fill the vase with water, so that the stem is submerged about one inch under the surface of the water. Place the hookah stem back into the vase.
Place the bowl on top of the hookah stem, so that it is secure and fill the bowl loosely with the shisha tobacco. It should be loose, so that air can pass through it.
Place the metal screen or plate on top of the bowl and put on the coal tablets.
Light the tablets with a match or lighter and wait until they are burning evenly throughout. Now inhale on the pipe.