What is Shisha?

Shisha – What is “Shisha”?

Some people say Shisha came from Turkey more than five hundred years ago while other people claim it originated from India and Syria.  In today’s case, Shisha refers to the smoking of flavoured tobacco using a hookah, also widely known as ‘narghile’ and ‘hubble bubble’.

The tobacco is infused in fruit shavings like grapes, strawberries, apple, vanilla, rose, coconut floral and many other flavours (over 250 known flavours). The hookah consists of a pipe, a hose or mouthpiece, a bowl, and a base. Atop the pipe structure is the bowl where the tobacco is placed. Covering the bowl is an aluminum foil, which is punctured with a pin, and then small pieces of charcoal are laid on the foil to heat the tobacco. When smoked with the hose, the hookah filters smooth, delicious-smelling vapours through its base which contains water.

Shisha Tobacco

Is Shisha dangerous to one’s health?

Many people may dispute that smoking Shisha is not dangerous, however medical experts believe otherwise.  

Dr. Sellehudin Abu Bakar, deputy head of Kuala Lumpur Health Department said that Shisha is a tobacco product mixed with fruit flavours and molasses, and any form of tobacco surely contained nicotine.  He also noted that all kinds of tobacco products are equally harmful as tobacco contained over 3500 chemicals including 200 toxic ones and 43 carcinogenic ones. He also said that it is not easy to compare which tobacco product is more harmful and that it is dependent on several factors such as the deepness of its inhalation, frequency of use, and/or whether other ingredients are also added besides the tobacco.

Dr. Abu Bakar also added that Shisha is also addictive because of the tobacco smoke’s nicotine content. He explained that Shisha smoking leads to physical addiction and may also create habitual and psychological dependence to its users.  

He also added that the water filter in Shishas is just a publicity stunt. Most of the nicotine and toxic chemicals in Shishas are non-water-soluble hence, although passing through the filter- it is still inhaled by the smoker despite that the other irritant substances (that are water-soluble) are getting filtered.

In the meantime, Reuters conveyed that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had declared that a single session of Shisha smoking produces an intake of nicotine equivalent to smoking more than 1 pack of cigarettes.  Reuters also reported that Shisha smoking retains all the carcinogens of cigarette smoking at the same time adding: an extra set of carcinogens from using burning coals to maintain the flow of nicotine, more carbon monoxide, plus the risk of being infected with hepatitis and/or tuberculosis from sharing a Shisha mouthpiece.

As more and more Shisha smokers become aware of the dangers associated with smoking it many are now looking for a safer, less harmful alternative which has prompted many of the electronic cigarette manufactures to begin manufacturing and marketing Electronic Shisha Pens. These new and innovative alternatives to conventional Shisha offer a very realistic smoking experience without all the harmful side affects.