If you're new to shisha, you might be wondering what the ingredients in shisha are. You might be especially curious if you think that shisha is just another word for 'hookah'.
When you smoke a shisha pipe, you're smoking the tobacco that's packed into the top, in the hookah bowl. Many people refer to hookah as shisha, or vice versa. But if you're looking to get into the hobby it's important to remember that hookah is the pipe and shisha is the tobacco.
So What's Actually in Shisha?
Most shisha tobacco isn't just tobacco. Over the years people have figured out how to add flavours to shisha by introducing various ingredients. There are hundreds, or even thousands of flavours to choose from, ranging from cheap fruity flavours to premium shisha experiences for those with refined palates. You can even mix flavours together to create brand new flavour experiences.
The actual ingredients of shisha will depend on whether you've chosen tobacco or herbal shisha, shisha paste, or some alternative. Where most shisha is tobacco, herbal shisha is made from 100% plant leaves and contains no tar or nicotine.
The flavouring is usually added through syrups, herbs and spices, or artificial flavouring. This is also what gives the shisha a kind of wet feeling.
If you're looking for great flavours, or just a high-quality hookah-smoking experience, we recommend not going with the cheapest option you can find. The cheaper you go the more likely you're going to run into strange ingredients and artificial, chemical flavours. All ingredients and flavours you'll find at The Premium Way are chosen by our team for their quality. All our top flavours use natural extracts such as herbs, sugar syrups (like honey), and fruits.
Some of our most popular flavours include chai, grape, lemon and even mint! If you're interested in learning more, you can view all our flavours.
How is Shisha Smoking Different to Cigarette Smoking?
Shisha tobacco is slightly wet as a result of the addition of flavouring ingredients, which can make it difficult to light. This is part of the reason a hookah pipe is used. Where cigarette smokers light the dry tobacco in the cigarette directly, shisha isn't burned. Instead, smoking hookah requires a hookah pipe and charcoal. Shisha is placed inside a bowl at the top and the charcoal is lit below it, producing hot air. This gently heats the shisha, producing a smooth smoke which is filtered through the water at the bottom of the pipe.
While the smoke is smoother than cigarette smoke or a traditional pipe, there is no less nicotine or tar in it, unless you've chosen herbal shisha. This means shisha smoking isn't better for you than smoking cigarettes, making it important to know your limits and understand the dangers of carbon monoxide smoke.
What Kind of Tobacco is Used in Shisha or Hookah Smoke?
Most tobacco-based shisha uses blonde leaf tobacco or dark leaf tobacco. This makes up the base of the flavour, which is then added to using different flavouring ingredients. Depending on your personal tastes, you may find you like one type of tobacco more than the other.
The difference between Blonde leaf and Dark leaf tobacco is in the preparation. Blonde leaf tobacco is washed using water (and sometimes solvent), while Dark leaf tobacco isn't, leaving the original nicotine concentration intact. This results in blonde leaf tobacco having a milder flavour, bringing out more of the added shisha flavouring.
Often, shisha tobacco is cured as well to preserve it or give it additional flavours. Light with curing agents like honey, dark with molasses. It may also be aged, but all of this depends on the brand, type, and manufacturer.
If you're not sure which one is right for you, we recommend trying both, either by purchasing or at hookah bars.
How Can I Find the Ingredients of Shisha, or Hookah Tobacco
If you're looking for the specific ingredients in Shisha, for allergies or similar reasons, your best option is to contact the manufacturer directly. If you are a cigarette smoker already you shouldn't have issues, as shisha tobacco smoke from a water pipe contains all the same harmful chemicals as smoking tobacco from a standard pipe or cigarette. If you are looking to smoke shisha, we recommend understanding the health risks before getting into the hobby. Waterpipe smoking can be enjoyed in moderation, but it's important to consider the effects of secondhand smoke and regular smoking.