Shisha is the flavoured tobacco smoked using hookah water pipes. It is also known by other names such as: Narghile, Hubble Bubble, Goza, among others.

A hookah consists of a base, pipe, bowl and hose or a mouthpiece.

Tobacco is placed in the bowl, which is at the top of the pipe structure. An aluminium foil covers the bowl and small charcoal pieces are then placed on the foil, which is punctured using a pin to gently heat the tobacco.

When smoked using the hose; smooth, sweet-smelling vapour is filtered through the base containing water. It also comes in floral flavours such as coconut, vanilla and rose.

According to a 2014 study published in the Journal Cancer Epidemiology & Prevention, smoking shisha could make nicotine urine levels spike by more than 70 million times; also resulting in the increase of cancer-causing agents. incorporated findings from the study with other research results and schemed the following shisha health hazards:

Causes cancer

Due to the mode of Shisha smoking—including frequency of puffing, depth of inhalation, and length of the smoking session—Shisha smokers may absorb higher concentrations of the toxins found in cigarette smoke, thus increasing the hazard to the body.

Shisha, tobacco and smoke contain numerous toxic substances known to cause lung, bladder, and oral cancers.

A typical one-hour session of hookah smoking exposes the user to 100 to 200 times the volume of smoke inhaled from a single cigarette.

Pregnancy complications

Shisha smoking among pregnant mothers is hazardous to the baby as well.

It could face underweight problems and breathing difficulty. Babies born to women who smoked one or more water pipes a day during pregnancy have lower birth weights than babies born to non-smokers and are at an increased risk for respiratory diseases, says

Heart problems

Shisha content contains numerous toxic substances known to cause clogged arteries and heart disease.

Spread of infections

Shisha pipes used in hookah bars and cafes may not be cleaned properly, risking the spread of infectious diseases.

Infectious diseases include: tuberculosis (which can infect the lungs or other parts of the body), aspergillus (a fungus that can cause serious lung infections), and helicobacter (which can cause stomach ulcers).

They may be spread by sharing the pipe or through the way the tobacco is prepared.

Second hand smoke

Using Shisha smoke poses a serious potential health hazard to smokers and others exposed to the smoke emitted.

The second hand smoke from Shisha poses a serious risk for non-smokers, particularly because it contains smoke not only from the tobacco but also from the heat source (e.g., charcoal) used in the hookah.

The use of smoking Shisha as a past time hobby, a bonding session or a social event for some is entirely one’s choice.

The listed effects of smoking shisha are just but a few; however, one thing is for sure, the moment you are having a shisha session you could be slowly buying yourself a quicker ticket to the grave.

By Brian Okoth (