October 22, 2014

Pipe Dreams: Hookah smoking is cool, but is it safe?

A look at mainstream hookah smoking.

Amy Keller | 7/1/2010

More Than Pipe Dreams

Jason Bajalia, who included hookah smoking when he opened the Casbah Cafe in Jacksonville 11 years ago, says he knew he was on to something when patrons began offering him $400 to $500 to buy hookah pipes he’d purchased from Egypt for just $10. Today, he says, business is still going strong, with between 120 and 130 hookah sessions each day. While 50% of his sales come from food, hookahs and alcohol each make up another 25%.

Brennan Appel, director of the online hookah store SouthSmoke.com, sells hookahs and hookah supplies to Bajalia and dozens of cafes around the country. He says the typical hookah cafe can make a killing. “It’s costing them less than $1 to make a bowl, and they’re charging $15 to $30. The rest of cost is labor to clean the hookah up. If you have a place that services 100 hookahs a day and they charge $20, that’s $2,000 a day.”

Pipe Dreams
[Photo: Michael Heape]

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