It's 2020... and it's time to stop using silver tabs.
It's high time the hookah industry moves past these relics of the past.
Silver Tabs, Quick Silver Hookah Charcoal, Bamboo Coals... or however you want to call them, are for most of us, the way we first got introduced to charcoal for hookah. They were quick, relatively cheap, and easy to use.
With the introduction of Natural Charcoal, more and more professionals moved away from silver lights because of all the advantages that came along with using them. Natural Charcoal, predominantly coconut shell-based ones, have less ash, burn longer, do not affect taste, and most importantly, contain no chemicals that ignite them.
So why is that almost two decades after silver tabs first hit the market, people still actively use these tabs, and even more worryingly, why do certain tobacco companies still promote them as a recommended source? Could it be their price? or the fact that they require little to no effort to use?
This question maybe beyond us to answer. But what we can do, is give you the Four main reasons why you should stop using these coals immediately and switch to natural coconut charcoal instead.
The vast majority of these coals are made from compressed sawdust or wood. Chinese factories, which hold a monopoly on the productions of these coals, very rarely use discarded bamboo wood, if any at all. You are overpaying for a very cheap product.
These coals are coated with the cheapest grade of aluminium coating, very likely not the type of grade you would find EPA approved for general cookware. This is why they peel off so easily and pose a risk of being inhaled, especially if you use foil.
Aluminium coating increases initial heat and spread, but continued inhalation of poor/cheap aluminium coating can lead to aluminium toxicity. Moreover, research by the US National Library of Medicine found that "exposure to aluminium powder is thought to be directly correlated with the development of pulmonary fibrosis".
The reason they light up so quickly is due to inherent chemicals such as potassium nitrate (KNO₃) or others. Frequent uses of KNO₃ includes quick light charcoals, fireworks, gunpowder.
Our conclusion based on these four factors is that in 2020, it would be highly counterintuitive to continue to inhale silver tabs on a daily basis. With some many charcoal brands readily available, do yourself and others a favour, and make the switch to a more safer and enjoyable way of consuming hookah.