What is shisha?
Shisha is usually made up of tobacco, molasses/sugar, and fruit flavourings. It is smoked through a water pipe that is heated by charcoal to produce the smoke.
Smoking shisha can damage your health. Sometimes people assume smoking shisha is less harmful than smoking cigarettes. The truth is shisha is just as harmful as smoking cigarettes and causes many of the same diseases. Shisha smokers are also more likely to take up cigarette smoking because of their addiction to nicotine.
Facts about smoking shisha
- Smoking shisha for an hour exposes you to 100 times more smoke than is found in a single cigarette. This is because the smoke is cooled by water and can have a fruity/herbal scent, which is inhaled more deeply and for longer, causing more sustained damage to your lungs and heart.
- Shisha can be addictive because it contains nicotine. Even tobacco free shisha like herbal/fruit shisha is not safe. Tobacco free shisha still contains tar, high levels of carbon monoxide, and other toxic ingredients.
- Water does not filter tobacco and other harmful toxins. When you smoke a shisha pipe you are inhaling carbon monoxide and other cancer causing chemicals.
- Herbal and fruit shishas mask the odour of tobacco, which can give you a false sense of safety whilst smoking.
- Sharing pipes can spread colds and flues, cold sores, and diseases like tuberculosis, hepatitis A and B (which can damage the liver).
- Sitting with people who smoke shisha is not safe because of secondary smoke inhalation.
- Smoking shisha whilst pregnant can lead to your child having low birth weight.
For information to help you stop smoking shisha see the NHS 'Why quit' pages.