Re: How long have you guys been smoking?
I started Hookah smoking, when I lived in Saudi Arabia (1997). I bought three hookahs, and used them in Saudi. Strangely, I did not ask for any assistance, I just loaded up the bowl, and dropped a coal directly into the tobacco. I got used to it right away.
When I returned to the USA in 1998, I used up all of my tobacco, and did not have a supplier. (I was in Bowling Green KY, and there were no arabian stores around! Ironically, Kentucky grows more tobacco than any other state except North Carolina. Here I was in the middle of tobacco country, and could not get tobacco)
I returned to Iraq in 2005, and I saw a news program on CNN about the popularity of hookah in hookah lounges. I got on the internet, and did some research, and learned about how to put foil on the bowl. I tried smoking hookah PROPERLY, and what a difference!!
I smoke with the Iraqi workers here, sometimes. They have a small "pumpkin" style hookah, and they use an apple flavored tobacco.