Shisha - also known as - hookah, shisha, narghi, bute, argileh, hubble-bubble and goza. The practice of smoking shisha involves burning charcoal in order to heat up a special preparation of tobacco (shisha) which often contains molasses, honey and/or fruit flavourings. When the shisha is heated up, smoke is produced that then bubbles down through a container of water and into a long hose-like tube fitted with a mouthpiece.
In contrast to cigarette smoking, there is a severe lack of education on smoking shisha and a great deal of misleading advertising associated with it. Unfortunately, these have made people feel that it is a less harmful alternative to smoking cigarettes.
While many believe shisha smoking to be safer than cigarette smoking, it actually is just as dangerous to your health, if not more so. Shisha smoke that you inhale can contain 36 times more tar than cigarette smoke, 15 times the carbon monoxide, and 70% more nicotine than one cigarette.
Shisha smokers may absorb more toxins and Cancer causing chemicals than cigarette smokers. An hour of shisha tobacco smoking is equal to smoking between 40 - 400 cigarettes, depending on frequency of puffing, the depth of inhalation, and how long the session lasts. In a typical shisha session (about 1 hour), a shisha smoker can inhale the same amount of toxins as a cigarette smoker consuming over 100 cigarettes.
Like cigarette smoking, smoking shisha has been associated with health effects and problems such as lung cancer, respiratory illness, low birth weight, diabetes, weight gain and periodontal disease. Plus with shisha, If the pipe and mouth piece is poorly cleaned and shared amongst users, it can increase the risk of contracting infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis, hepatitis and meningitis amongst others.
Shisha traditionally originated in the Middle East and Asia, however it has surged in popularity in the last decade, especially in the UK. In London specifically, since the smoking ban in 2007, there has been a 210% increase in the number of cafes serving shisha, however, after reading the above information, maybe you should think twice before visiting one.