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Hookah vs. Bong: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Updated on October 11, 2023
A hookah is a water pipe with a hose for smoking flavored tobacco, while a bong is typically used for smoking cannabis and has a straight stem.

Key Differences

A hookah is traditionally used for smoking flavored tobacco, also known as shisha or maassel, which often incorporates fruit molasses and is usually smoked communally. On the other hand, a bong is generally used for smoking cannabis and is widely recognized in various global cultures for individual use.
The hookah is characterized by a hose or multiple hoses through which the smoke is inhaled, making it conducive for social smoking sessions. Conversely, a bong usually features a singular straight tube, stem, and a bowl, which is designed predominantly for personal use.
In terms of complexity and size, a hookah is often larger and consists of multiple components including a bowl at the top for the coal and tobacco, a basin of water through which the smoke passes, and the hoses for inhalation. In contrast, a bong is typically simpler, usually consisting of the main body, a bowl to hold the cannabis, and a stem through which the smoke is inhaled.
In cultural contexts, the hookah has strong historical roots in the Middle East and India, where it has been utilized in social and ceremonial contexts for centuries. Whereas the bong, which also has ancient origins, has been found in various cultures globally and is not specifically tied to communal or ceremonial use.
Aesthetic distinctions can also be drawn between a hookah and a bong. Hookahs often feature ornate designs, with decorative elements and materials that enhance their visual appeal as a centerpiece in social gatherings. Bongs, however, are generally more functional in appearance, though they can also exhibit artistic designs, they are primarily built for direct, individual use.

Comparison Chart

Traditional Use

Smoking flavored tobacco
Smoking cannabis

Design & Complexity

Multiple components, often elaborate
Simpler, often straightforward


Typically larger
Smaller and portable

Cultural Origin

Middle East and India
Various cultures globally

Social Connotation

Commonly used in social gatherings
Typically used individually

Hookah and Bong Definitions


A hookah is a water pipe for smoking shisha.
We ordered a mint-flavored shisha to smoke from the hookah.


Bongs are often utilized for individual smoking sessions.
She decided to use a bong for a quicker smoking session.


The hookah passes smoke through water to cool and filter it.
The hookah water bubbled as they smoked the fruity shisha.


A bong is a filtration device generally used for smoking cannabis.
He packed the bong with a fresh amount of cannabis.


A hookah typically utilizes coals to heat the tobacco.
She placed the hot coals atop the hookah to start the session.


A bong typically consists of a bowl, stem, and chamber.
He accidentally broke the bong's stem while cleaning it.


Hookahs often feature a hose through which smoke is inhaled.
He passed the hookah hose to his friend after taking a puff.


Bongs can be made from glass, plastic, or other materials.
His new glass bong featured intricate, colorful designs.


Hookahs are often associated with social smoking sessions.
They enjoyed a long conversation while sharing a hookah.


Bongs utilize water to cool and partially filter the smoke.
The water in the bong bubbled as she took a hit.


A pipe traditionally used for smoking flavored tobacco in which tobacco is placed in a bowl and heated with burning charcoal, producing smoke that is drawn through an urn of water that cools it and then into a long tube with an attached mouthpiece. In some modern versions, the charcoal-heated bowl is replaced with a battery-powered vaporizer containing a liquid mixture similar to that used in an e-cigarette. Also called hubble-bubble, narghile, shisha.


A deep ringing sound, as of a bell.


An e-cigarette or a vaporizer pen. Also called hookah pen.


A water pipe that consists of a bottle or a vertical tube partially filled with liquid and a smaller tube ending in a bowl, used often in smoking narcotic substances.


(recreational inhalants) Smoking A pipe with a long flexible tube that draws the smoke through water, traditionally used for smoking tobacco, which is often flavored.


To cause to sound with a deep ringing noise.


(diving) A tank-less surface air compressor pump and umbilical piping system that supplies air to a diving mask


To make a deep ringing noise.


A pipe with a long, flexible stem, so arranged that the smoke is cooled by being made to pass through water. Also called narghile and water pipe. The hubble-bubble is a simple form of this device.


(slang) The clang of a large bell.


An oriental tobacco pipe with a long flexible tube connected to a container where the smoke is cooled by passing through water;
A bipolar world with the hookah and Turkish coffee versus hamburgers and Coca Cola


(slang) Doorbell chimes. en


A vessel, usually made of glass or ceramic and filled with water, used in smoking various substances; especially marijuana.


An act of smoking one serving of drugs from a bong.


A device for rapidly consuming beer, usually consisting of a funnel or reservoir of beer and a length of tubing.


(ethnic slur) An Australian Aboriginal person.


(slang) To pull a bell.


(slang) To ring a doorbell.


To smoke a bong.


Ring loudly and deeply;
The big bell bonged


Where does the hookah originate from?

The hookah originates from the Middle East and India.

Does a hookah utilize water?

Yes, hookahs use water to cool and partially filter the smoke.

Can hookahs have multiple hoses?

Yes, hookahs can have multiple hoses for communal smoking.

What is typically placed on top of the hookah's bowl?

Burning coals are typically placed on top to heat the tobacco.

Are there nicotine-free options for hookah smoking?

Yes, there are herbal, non-tobacco shisha options available.

What substance is commonly smoked with a bong?

Cannabis is most commonly smoked with a bong.

What are the basic parts of a bong?

Basic parts of a bong include the bowl, stem, and chamber.

What is a hookah traditionally used for?

Smoking flavored tobacco, often referred to as shisha or maassel.

Is hookah smoking safer than cigarette smoking?

No, hookah smoking is not safer and carries similar health risks to cigarette smoking.

Can a hookah be portable?

While traditionally large, there are smaller, portable hookahs available.

Can you smoke cannabis with a hookah?

While traditionally used for shisha, cannabis can also be smoked in a hookah.

Can a bong be used for consuming other herbs?

Yes, various herbs can be consumed through a bong.

Are there electric or charcoal heaters for hookahs?

Yes, both electric heaters and charcoal are used to heat the tobacco in hookahs.

Can you use tobacco in a bong?

Yes, although less common, tobacco can be smoked using a bong.

Can a bong function without water?

While possible, using a bong without water negates its filtration purpose.

Are all bongs large in size?

No, bongs come in various sizes, from small to very large.

Does a bong use water for filtration?

Yes, bongs utilize water to cool and partially filter the smoke.

Can a bong be made from different materials?

Yes, bongs can be made from glass, plastic, ceramic, metal, and more.

Is using a bong a safe method of smoking?

While it may reduce some irritants, smoking with a bong still presents health risks.

Do bongs have a cultural significance?

Bongs have various cultural and historical significances across different societies.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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