Shisha vs hookah: What Is The Difference?

Today, we will learn the fundamental difference between shisha and hookah, and most people see this as shisha vs. hookah. So many people think that both are different things, and some think both are the same.

So, there’s a lot of confusion on the internet, and I will try to clear all your doubts about shisha vs. hookah. We will also look into some of the essential histories of hookah to learn better and understand its origin.

Nowadays, smokers have experienced smoking different tobacco in different forms, for example, smoking tobacco via cigarette smoking, hookah smoking, waterpipe tobacco smoke, etc.

All these are for the one reason, smoking tobacco and nothing else. People need a different and unique way of smoking tobacco that gives them the satisfaction they require in their lives.

Tobacco smoking can be dangerous for everyone’s health, and it has nasty health effects on the human body. Yet, despite knowing the side effects of consuming tobacco regularly, people smoke it.

Most of them want to leave smoking, but they cannot do it, as they are deeply habituated to smoking tobacco regularly using different mediums, including cigarettes, hookahs, shisha, etc.

Hookah smokers and cigarette smokers both love tobacco, and they find different ways of smoking it.

Cigarette smoke is different from hookah smoke, as hookah tobacco contains flavored tobacco, and when you smoke flavored tobacco, you are also smoking tobacco molasses.

But passionate tobacco users do not care about the way of smoking tobacco; they want to smoke it and feel the buzz it gives.

This article will look into the different meanings of shisha and hookah to know them better.

Let’s start with the hookah first.

What Is Hookah?

Hookah is a simple pipe that helps you smoke your desired flavored tobacco.

And it is believed that hookah originated in the fifteenth hundreds in India or the Persian Empire.

Today, hookahs have changed completely. They fall into two major categories, including the traditional hookah that you can easily find at the hookah bars and the one that runs by electricity, E-hookahs, or pens.

Let’s learn about both types of hookahs to understand the hookah and its mechanism better.

Traditional Hookahs

A traditional hookah contains different hookah parts, and all of them have different purposes in the hookah system. But in general, hookah is a water pipe that contains different small parts.

One of them is the hookah bowl, and tobacco or flavored tobacco burns into the bowl placed on the top of the hookah shaft.

And the smoke is created from this tobacco inside the bowl, which travels into the water chamber along with the hookah hose to a mouthpiece. A hookah smoker inhales from this mouthpiece and enjoys the thick smoke.

Many hookah smokers think that smoking hookahs are safer than smoking cigarettes because, in hookah, smoke comes into your mouth by filtering from water placed inside the chamber.

But that is not entirely true, or you should not wholly believe that statements until you find some decent proof from the higher authorities of your country.

If you don’t know, hookah smoke contains all the harmful chemical toxicology that may harm the human body and organs. These harmful chemicals are nicotine and carbon monoxide.

It may also harm your lungs as you smoke hookah intensely into your lungs, and it may cause lung disease, mainly lung cancer.

And some research and studies show that hookah smoking is even more dangerous than cigarette smoking, as smokers smoke hookah and water pipes for hours at hookah lounges and consume these destructive and harmful cancer-causing chemicals.

Now, let’s look at the different components of a traditional hookah.

4 Major Hookah Parts

Now, let’s look at the 4 major hookah parts that make the whole hookah system.

The Head Or The Bowl

A hookah head or bowl is equipment that holds the tobacco inside, which is then used to produce thick smoke. It comes in various materials, including glass, ceramics, silicone, metal, and stone.

But it’s up to you which material you like the most to smoke hookah from, and you need to be quite picky when it comes to picking a hookah bowl.

So, the bowl is used to pack tobacco inside and wrap it up with aluminum foil. And hookah coals are then placed on the aluminum foils to provide heat and charge the hookah tobacco.

When a smoker draws from the hose, air passes through the heated coals and makes the tobacco burn and release flavor in the form of smoke. It will then store this smoke inside the smoke chamber, which the hose can draw to your mouth.

The Body or The Stem

A hookah stem is usually made from metal, mainly stainless steel. But it is not limited to only stainless steel, as you may find some hookah stem made from brass and copper.

If we pay attention to the bottom of the stem, it has one or more than one ports that connect the hose, and usually, it has a check valve called a purge valve for purging the smoke in the chamber.

The top of the body connects with the hookah bowl, which holds the hookah tobacco.

The Base Or The Vase

A hookah vase usually holds the water to filter the incoming smoke in the chamber. This chamber or base is made from glass. Still, suppose you want a luxury hookah with premium hookah parts. You may get a strong material, usually glass, more robust than any other cheap hookah parts available in the market.

The base is filled with water, but partially, not the total capacity. And the stem has a tube that travels down into the water, and when the smoker draws smoke from the hose, it travels down from the stem to the water and leaves all the harmful chemicals behind in the water, giving the smoker a less harmful smoke.

The Hose

A hookah hose has two ends, one connects with the manifold using a rubber grommet to ensure the perfect seal between the joints, and the other end goes into the smoker’s mouth via a mouthpiece.

The hose comes in various materials depending on your budget, but usually, it comes in silicone or plastic materials. And if you are comfortable spending a decent amount of money, you may have a wood or metal hose that you can add to the premium hoses collection.

A hookah smoker will suck from the one end of the hose, which has a mouthpiece for comfortable drawing.

And when a smoke draws air from the hose, it comes through the coals and tobacco, and it carries tobacco flavors in the smoke. Then the smoke travels through the downstem and into the water chamber, and from the water chamber, it comes into your hose and then into your mouth.

Hookah Pens Or Electric Hookah

It has different names but one purpose. Some call it e-pens, vapes, e-cigarettes, and so on.

These hookah pens and e-cigarettes use a flavored liquid that helps you create smoke by vaporizing the flavored liquid. It does not contain tobacco, nicotine, and even tar.

The brands claim to have tobacco-free liquids, but it’s hard to prove, as there are no studies or research papers available to prove that statement.

And even if we believe that hookah pens are tobacco-free, they may contain harmful chemicals in the liquids they use and the flavors they use to make the liquids taste like candy.

Hookah pens make your hookah session or smoking less harsh than the traditional hookahs and tobacco. And experts believe that hookah pens can draw younger generations into smoking pens frequently in a day, making them habitual to these harmful chemical flavored liquids.

And breathing those liquid chemicals from the e-hookah into your precious lungs can make you sick.

There are different types of liquids available for e-hookahs and pens, and it’s easy to get confused about them and decide which one contains tobacco and which does not.

And one of the most significant pieces of advice from an expert hookah smoker to stay away from these harmful chemicals and liquids is not to smoke them.

You are safe when you are not smoking those e-pens and hookahs.

What Is Shisha?

Now, let’s talk about shisha. We have gone through the hookah and the parts from which it is made, so it’s time to know more about shisha.

As we know, hookah is used to smoke tobacco. And the most common type of tobacco used to smoke in hookah is shisha, which is made from primary 4 ingredients.

Let’s look at those four primary ingredients that help shisha become a favorite thing that all hookah smokers use globally.

A Tobacco

The tobacco used in hookah for smoking is generally washed and is not like cigarettes or other pipe tobacco. When tobacco is washed, it will not have a strong aroma and taste of tobacco like it does have in cigarettes and other modes of tobacco smoking.

And washing the tobacco away creates a low nicotine content, which is quite helpful for beginners who are just testing out smoking tobacco.

But is recommended not to smoke tobacco if you are smoking for the first time in your life.

There are many options available for beginners, for example, tobacco-free alternatives like herbal shisha/flavors. They are also called shisha, and it does not make great tobacco use in them. Even the world health organization and middle eastern countries have stated smoking tobacco and its health effects.

A smoking session may contain toxic substances and toxic chemicals that will harm your body parts. After all, you need to have tobacco control in smoking and not have a habit of smoking tobacco molasses.

It is also mentioned in the food and chemical toxicology that tobacco, hookah pipe, and waterpipe smoking are dangerous for human health. Even the American lung association has issued guidelines for smoking and its cancer-causing chemicals that create lung cancer.

Molasses or Honey

Every tobacco product has molasses in them, so all the tobacco products taste good and are a bit sweet. It doesn’t matter what smoking devices you use; you need to track your health behavior to know its effects on your body.

Centers for disease control and prevention have also researched hookah and its side effects and have claimed that it emits more carbon monoxide than other tobacco products.

The word hookah is trendy, and almost everyone is aware of it. And the shisha, which is used to smoke hookah, contains an ingredient called molasses. The smoke passes through the tobacco to a smoker’s mouth, giving them the natural tobacco flavor and taste.

The term shisha is used in the Middle East to communicate the hookah and smoking process as the days pass, and high school students are attracted to shisha and hookah smoking.

The honey or molasses add a sweet texture to the hookah smoking. A hookah use a pipe-like device and heavy metals to create an excellent system for smoking. Mainstream smoke aerosol of the argileh water pipe is used to have a great smoking session with your young adults.


Many years ago, glycerin was not used to make shisha, and it was not a part of their ingredient list. But as the world progresses, researchers and scientists are conducting tests to make everything optimized and good-looking/testing. That is the reason for the addition of glycerin into the shisha.

Glycerin helps tobacco and shisha to produce a thick smoke that hookah smokers love. As you smoke shisha, you create thick smoke clouds that give you a satisfying feeling of smoking it.

But you should not forget about its side effects, including heart disease and infectious diseases. Sometimes, many smokers complain about having oral cancers due to excessive smoking.

A single cigarette does not contain glycerin. And college students are more into hookah smoking, but they are not aware of its increased risk to their health.

The Persian word “Mu’assel is also called shisha, and it contains glycerin that helps you create more thick smoke than ever. They used the term hookah in the Indian subcontinent.


It all depends on the flavors. And these days, flavors are more artificial than ever. So it’s tough to find a natural flavor in the market. The two most famous shisha flavors are double apple and mint.

You will find many smokers in the hookah lounges smoking these two flavors as it gives you the best feeling of smoking hookah and shisha.


Now, it’s time to look into the frequently asked questions about the topic to learn more about shisha and hookah. This section is helpful for beginners as they are not aware of many hookah terms and rules.

So, I have shared some of the most asked questions on the internet about hookah and shisha, and it will help you better understand the topic.

Please go through all the FAQs mentioned below to know more about the topic.

What is the difference between Hookah and Shisha?

Basically, in the western world, hookah is used to mention a device that helps you smoke tobacco. On the other hand, shisha is referred to as moist tobacco, containing different ingredients that help smokers smoke thick shisha flavor smoke. So, both are different, but you should know the fundamental difference between them.

Is smoking hookah worse than smoking cigarettes?

Both modes of smoking are worse for human health, but if you want to choose one of these two, you need to calculate every bit of puff and harmful chemicals used to make these products. For example, if you are smoking a hookah, you take around 200 puffs in one session, whereas, in cigarette smoking, you hardly take 20 puffs. Both contain tobacco and another ingredient that makes human life worse. So, it’s pretty apparent which one is more harmful to humans.


Now, we are at the final step of this article, and if you are reading this section, you have cleared all your doubts and questions related to the topic that you had at the beginning of this article.

I have tried to mention every minor detail about the topic to understand it quickly. Still, if you have any doubts about hookah vs. shisha, I recommend you read the FAQs section, where I have shared some of the most asked questions about the topic.

Still, if you feel that something needs to be answered, you have to ask that question in the comment section below.

Besides that, I have mentioned all the details about hookah and its different parts that make an excellent mechanism or system to work and provide a great smoking experience.

Likewise, I have also mentioned every detail about shisha and how you can use it to enhance your hookah smoking.

At last, I just want to wish you a good hookah smoking session that you can enjoy with your friends and family and have a great time smoking hookah.

Our author
Peter Russell

I smoke hookah every day. Like daily with my gang. This is what I love the most when the thick smoke comes out of my mouth, giving me the best feeling in the world. I have been smoking hookah since 2010, and one day, my friend suggested I share my experience with the newbies. So here I am sharing my whole lot of experience of smoking. Use my tips to smoke better and enjoy every day of your life.

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