Shisha aka Hookah in most Middle Eastern countries is an apparatus made from glass where you can smoke through a pipe. Originating from Egypt and other parts of the middle east, shisha is now popular around the world, and most often found in middle eastern specialty cafes and restaurants.

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Within the UAE, plenty of restaurants and cafes offer shisha. What makes shisha unique is that it is not limited to tobacco. You can smoke and inhale natural ingredients such as fruits, water-based liquids, mint leaves as well as other aromatic substances.

Though this may seem like a better option than smoking tobacco, shisha does pose potential risks to health and society. The question of whether shisha is good or bad for your health as well as for the general society has long been debated.

With that being said, let’s try to break down the pros and cons of shisha and form our own opinions on the matter.

Pros of Shisha

  • An alternative to cigarettes. Shisha has always been popular in the Middle East. However, along with e-cigarettes, they have become a worldwide trend for many smokers as they are a lot healthier and less harmful than regular cigarettes. This is because shisha contains less harmful toxins and chemicals than a traditional cigarette. However, be warned that even though this may be a fact, shisha and e-cigarettes are still unhealthy, can cause health complications and that smoking, in general, is never a good thing.
  • Helps you to relax. Because shisha still contains tobacco, the nicotine content will help you to feel relaxed as well as putting your mind at ease. Shisha is commonly used after having a meal or when having a conversation with others. The upside of using shisha to relax as opposed to smoking a regular cigarette is that its fewer chemicals and toxins mean your health won’t deteriorate as quickly.
  • Cleaner Scent. Because most shisha in the Middle East as well as abroad incorporate fruit juices and essence, the scent is far more pleasant than regular cigarette smoke. Because it also has fewer toxins than a regular cigarette, its smell is less aggressive and may even come off as sweet. Though second-hand smoke from shisha is also a concern, it is far less harmful than normal tobacco cigarettes.

Cons of Shisha

  • Forms Bad Habits. If you’re looking to quit cigarette addiction, smoking a shisha may be a step in the right direction; however, it’s not the best idea. As shisha is technically still smoking, bad smoking habits will not go away. It may you feel better mentally, but your overall health may not be really benefitting.
  • Addiction to Nicotine. Most shisha still contains tobacco. Nicotine is the stimulant in tobacco that causes addiction. Though it can help you to relax and makes you ‘feel good’, you won’t necessarily be smoking any less. In fact, it may even encourage you to continue to smoke cigarettes. Some people believe that the water content in shisha can actually absorb the nicotine before it reaches you, however not all the nicotine is absorbed, and so it will still affect your health.
  • Bad For Your Lungs. Though many people believe shisha and e-cigarettes are healthier options for your health, they still contain harmful chemicals that can damage your lungs when inhaled. Depending on the type of shisha you’re smoking, and what content you’re inhaling, harmful toxins should always be considered. The average shisha-smoking session usually lasts up to an hour, and multiple types of research have shown that in this time you can inhale the same amount of smoke as from more than 100 cigarettes.

Keep in Mind


Whether you decide to use shisha or not for yourself, you need to be aware of the potential risks it may pose to your health. Especially if you are a previous smoker of cigarettes or other harmful substances, it may be best to avoid shisha.

If you suffer from certain health conditions, it may be best to seek professional medical advice before you try a shisha. It may not be a good idea if you have diabetes, lung cancer, heart disease or other health concerns.

Before trying shisha, try to find other alternatives that can bring you pleasure or satisfaction. Maybe a cup of coffee or tea after dinner is a better solution for you. Shisha in moderation and using the right substances should be fine for your health.

But be careful that you don’t form bad habits out of it. The worst-case scenario is that you start adding more harmful substances such as tobacco or that it opens the door to cigarette smoking for you.

When to see a doctor?

Do you need expert advice on this topic, suffer from health issues caused by smoking Shisha, or want to quit?

Go to or download our Mobile App and book an appointment with a Pulmonology doctor instantly.