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The Shisha Culture in the Middle East

From 2003 to 2018, Dave lived and worked in GCC countries including UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait. He had a great time!

typical shisha pipes

typical shisha pipes


Shisha: A Long, Slow Pleasure

One of the pleasures of living in the Middle East is to pass an evening in congenial company while enjoying a shisha of your preferred flavour.

Shisha is the traditional Arab water pipe, sometimes called a hookah (but not by the locals).

I've never been a smoker in the conventional sense. Cigars have little or no appeal for me, and cigarettes I actively dislike. But shisha is a different animal altogether. Of course it still counts as smoking, and yes, it's bad for the health, but the social and ritualistic aspects of the custom are irresistible.

I've met many Western visitors to the Middle East who wanted to try shisha at least once, even out of curiosity, but missed out because they were just not sure what to do. That seems such a shame. To counter this, I'm now going to talk you through the whole experience of my typical shisha evening.

First, I choose my companion for the evening. This is important (and not difficult!) We'll be together for a couple of hours at least. Slow, relaxed, unpremeditated conversation enhances the pleasure, while nervous or point-scoring talk is simply joyless. Ah, but isn't that always true...

Next, we select our shisha venue with care. Many of the better shisha cafes have outdoor tented booths that are open to the street, but offer privacy from neighbouring tables. For most of the year, in the Gulf States, we can sit outside comfortably through the long, warm evening. Souq (market) areas with no motor vehicles are best. Or a rooftop shisha garden, if we can find one. Indoor cafes are OK, but the smoke of many shishas together can build up to an opressive heavy fog.

Once seated, we'll ask for the shisha menu. The most popular flavours, available almost everywhere, are apple, rose and grape. Mint is common too. Among the more exotic flavours I've seen are banana, liquorice, strawberry, vanilla, and even chocolate. More traditional menus will also include one or two plain tobacco shishas without added flavours.

So, What to Order?

We steer clear of the exotics; they are only there for novelty. Most shisha waiters will recommend apple for beginners, but I've found it can be quite sharp on the throat. Grape is much smoother, if sometimes a little bland. Rose is my normal choice, with mint a close second. We would normally have eaten first, but, if still peckish, a little hummus served with the local flat bread fits the bill, but nothing hot or heavy. Cool fresh water is a must, and maybe a glass of tea with mint. (Be aware, though, that in the Gulf, tea and coffee are always served sweet, unless you specifically ask for no sugar).

One Shisha Each, or One Between Two?

For a shisha to work properly, it has to be smoked fairly steadily to keep the coals and tobacco at optimum temperature. Unless you're normally a heavy smoker, this can be quite taxing. For that reason, I prefer to 'share the load' and order one for the two of us. There's a delicious intimacy in sharing shisha. But this is not for business meetings; be sure of your company before sharing :)

Usually, the waiter will bring our shisha and set it down before going off to get a scoop of smouldering charcoal. He'll then place two or three coals on top of the perforated foil and take several long draws on our pipe to get it started. We all know this is one of the perks of his job, the first few draws on every shisha he serves. Once it's smoking freely, he'll fit a new plastic mouthpiece (hygiene, ok?) before handing it to me, rather like a wine waiter, for approval. Of course, it's always perfect!

Now, How Do You Smoke a Shisha?

Deeply, m'dears! It's the only way. It's a big piece of equipment, and drawing on it from the cheeks is just not going to make any impression. You've got to inhale. This is what we're doing tonight, for an hour or two, and maybe not again till next weekend, or the weekend after. Feel as guilty as you like, but enjoy it. Life's too short anyway.

You might be wondering exactly what you're smoking. Needless to say, it's possible to put any smokable substance into a shisha pipe in your own home, but commercial establishments will only ever serve tobacco shishas. The tobacco is blended with molasses, glycerine and the extract of rose, grape, etc. The charcoal is not in direct contact with the tobacco; it is separated by a perforated metal foil (though some traditionalists dispense with this). The smoke is drawn through water, which cools it and even removes some of the water soluble nicotine. Having said that, it's still bad for you, but so is worrying!

After maybe 15 to 20 minutes, the flavour will start to change. Often, the smoke becomes too hot. Then we simply use the coal tweezers (always provided!) to remove one of the charcoals. Or maybe the taste tends towards sooty or dirty. Then we'll pick up the charcoals (with the tweezers) and drop them into the metal coal tray to shake off the ash coating, before placing them back on top of the foil. A little later, maybe after half an hour, the coals will be exhausted. When that happens, we catch the waiter's eye and he comes by with a hopper of fresh burning charcoal. The shisha can be refreshed with new coals once or twice, before the smoking mixture is used up. When that happens, it's time to go home!

Parting Thoughts

I would recommend trying shisha in several cafes before deciding to buy your own. Small 'souvenir' shisha pipes are about as serviceable as a chocolate fireplace. Don't be tempted to buy anything that the cafes would be ashamed to present. And remember there's quite a lot of technique involved in preparing a shisha. My next article might explain how to do it at home. But there's no hurry, is there? We're relaxing.

Comments, newest on top

Avinesh Prahladi from Chandigarh on October 18, 2013:

Shisha smoking is also injurious to the health. Not many people are aware of the fact that it contains extra amount of toxic compounds, carbon monoxide, tar and carcinogens. It should be banned in various cafes as an increasing number of teens are getting used to shisha smoking.

Sam on April 01, 2013:

Great post man, im more of a hand pipe man but ive been wanting to try one of these for some time now. SS from hash pipes.net

mohamed from sheffield on February 28, 2013:

Nice post I have mad e a video on how to make a shisha on hubpages would like to let everyone intrested in shisha to know.

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on July 23, 2012:

whowas - I can tell from your comment that you've enjoyed it properly, as a ritual and relaxation. Thanks for dropping by :)

whowas on July 23, 2012:

That was very interesting.

I smoked a shisha or two in my time - mostly in a favorite middle-eastern restaurant I used to frequent with friends when I was in Germany. Apple and vanilla were our favorites, I recall.

I gave up tobacco in all forms about three years ago now - mainly for economic and ecological reasons - but I do remember just what a real pleasure it was to smoke those leisurely shishas in convivial company after a good meal.

Thanks for the delicious memories!

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on March 31, 2012:

That seems a fair attitude to take :)

Paul S Jr. on March 30, 2012:

Well I've smoked ciggaretes and I've quit but I know that in my life I'm gonna die anyway so I'm gonna try everything at least once too huh??. Get busy living or get busy dying huh ???

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on February 24, 2012:

Learning it in Egypt, you are likely to have experienced the correct ambiance and ritual that I've described in the article. That's what sets it apart from all other forms of smoking.

ShishaLover on February 24, 2012:

i have recently come back from egypt where i tried my first shisha! we bought two back, a small one (which we used whilst on holiday) and a big one, im actually smoking mine right now. i love the feeling it gives you, makes you so relaxed and chilled out and the flavours are amazing. im a smoker and i would prefer having a shisha anyday of the week! its great to get a group of people together and have a nice chilled out evening. Definatly give it a go, you will not regret it!

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on January 16, 2012:

If the coals are exhausted first, you'll get no smoke. Usually you'd replace the coals once. Towards the end of the second set of coals, the flavour disappears and you're just smoking charcoal. That's when the shisha tobacco is exhausted. You get used to how it works in time!

Alyssa on January 15, 2012:

I just smoked hookah with some friends for the first time this weekend. I didn't know that much about it so I was looking for more information. I'm glad I stumbled upon your hub.

I was wondering a couple of things still. They all seemed to know when the shisha and the coals were done but because I'm new at this, I had no idea. Can you tell me how to tell when both are done?

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on January 08, 2012:

Chris - if it says cola it probably tastes like cola. In the Middle East, shisha is an adult ritual. I prefer it that way.

chris on December 27, 2011:

hi,really cool article for christmas i got a shisha and some flavours, im 14 and only used it once i only use it on occations i was also givin some new flavours like cola and i was wondering what it would taste like?

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on December 27, 2011:

nn - I reckon that if you stick to once a week or less, it can always remain a special treat.

nn on December 24, 2011:

Hi Paragilder.

Thanks for the very well written hub! I've recently tried shisha and, although I know it's unhealthy, I did enjoyed it. Looking forward for my next shisha session :)

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on December 16, 2011:

Thanks Jacob - I try only to write from real experience :)

Jacob Harding from Omaha, Nebraska on December 16, 2011:

Very good hub! I have always been a little intimidated by hookahs, as we call them in Nebraska, but this hub makes me want to try. I'll just have to head to the new hookah bar that just opened. Thanks, Paraglider, your writing is excellent and the information very useful.

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on November 25, 2011:

Hi Hassam - I definitely wouldn't recommend it for teenagers. In the Middle East it is traditionally an adult ritual.

hassam from Pakistan on November 25, 2011:

Smoking Sheesha is a fun thing to do, it is extremely popular among teenagers, but what I have read is that 1 hour of smoking Sheesha is equal to smoking 100 cigarettes, so definitely people should consider the effects this activity could pose to their health.

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on November 25, 2011:

Skyretix - I don't think so. The flavourings are mostly plant extracts and less harmful than the tobacco itself. (And yes, I know tobacco is a plant too!)

Skyretix on November 25, 2011:

Question, my family is from the Middle East and my Grandma got me a hookah when I turned 18, she gave me this tobacco that came from Iran. I was wondering if smoking flavored tobacco compared to the normal tobacco, I understand both aren't good health wise, but is there any difference in that? As in is there anything harmful in the flavored tobacco that isn't in the regular tobacco?

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on November 18, 2011:

Kilineg - sounds like you know how to appreciate it properly :)

klineg on November 18, 2011:

i love the hookah band all of its wonderful glories, my good friend and i beleive hookahs to be almost sacred, to be enjoyed not abused. i am american by birth, but i to love all that is hookah. be it manners or good company, it is one of lifes ultimate pleasures. by the way, i know its odd but i love apple and rose shisha combinations.

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on November 14, 2011:

Xan, can't really answer that, but if you try obviously different flavours such as rose and mint, I'd be surprised if you didn't spot the difference.

Xan on November 14, 2011:

Great article! I just tried my first shisha yesterday. I had a question about the flavor however. I tried 2 different flavors and I didn't really get a distinct taste. I'm from the US so they had weird names and I'm not sure if that was the reason.

Is there a specific way you should inhale to get the maximum flavor?


yasmin on November 08, 2011:

lol my favorite flavour is double apple lol probably becuz its the only flavour ive tried hahaha x

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on October 16, 2011:

Eve - that sounds about right :)

Eve Nightingale on October 15, 2011:

I'm getting some this evening and I'll be sure to use the advie here to get it right. Do not incinerate the material. Deep breaths. And relax. ;)

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on September 24, 2011:

Mohamed, thanks for commenting. My view is that we are 'designed' to breathe fresh air. Nothing else is good for us. But shisha, used sensibly, can be very pleasurable. Everyone can decide for themselves whether the pleasure is worth the possible risk to health. This hub is about the pleasure and the ritual. I am an occasional but very appreciative user.

mohamed on September 24, 2011:

and yea i forgot to tell you try the blue mist it's a mix of blueberry,grape,mint AMAZING believe me.

mohamed on September 24, 2011:

i am from Egypt i am a heavy smoker and no shisha is not more harmful as a cigarette. shisha doesn't contain tar to begin with. However Tar is that black sticky substance used to make roads, it's formed when anything organic burns. What everyone has neglected to tell you, however, is the TEMPERATURE required to form tar. It's in excess of 900 degrees centigrade.Cigs have hundreds of toxic chemicals, right down to the fact that you're inhaling the burnt paper that surrounds the tobacco. Shisha has, 1 (if that) known harmful gas (CO). I made a blood test before a week on everything and i was totally clean.Finally, when shisha "cooks" (notice, not "burns") , it's the glycerin, molasses , crushed sugarcane (in some tobacco) etc that vaporizes first, because they all have lower combustion temperatures then the tobacco, so by the time the tobacco starts burning, all the "juice" should be gone (if the smoker exercised proper heat management) and you should be left with just the burnt tobacco, your session should end just before this happens when you realize the shisha is "over" or getting "too harsh".

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on September 18, 2011:

Hi Ian - the water certainly does some filtering (and cooling) of the smoke, though it would take a proper chemical analysis to work out how much. Even regular shisha smokers are unlikely to exceed one per day. Yes, it lasts much longer than a cigarette, but for the rest of the day, you're breathing fresh air, whereas cigarette smokers tend to light up at every opportunity, giving their lungs less recovery time.

But as I've said to previous commentators, I'm no expert. Just an occasional user who felt like writing about the experience :)

Ian on September 18, 2011:

Hey there Paraglider. I read through the article and it was very informative. Here in the States, hookah is starting to become VERY popular. I bought my own smaller pipe and it is just as effective as the bigger ones in the lounges. The only differnce I've noticed is that the bowls are smaller and don't last as long.

Also on the topic of it being just as harmful if not worse than smoking cigarettes:

I've been a heavy smoker for about a year and I was easily able to quit cold turkey. Then I tried hookah and it's not addictive at all to me. I just smoke regularly to try the endless combination of flavors. I've also noticed that my smokers cough hasn't reappeared while smoking shisha AND my lungs are starting to get better. Also, I realized that I don't get any kind of nicotine rush from smoking shisha. I don't believe that it is worse for you at all and I actually DO believe that the water filters the smoke because...well...the water gets a grey-ish color to it when I'm finished and pour it out. What are your thoughts on this?

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on September 13, 2011:

Mark - I'm not a doctor. All smoking is potentially harmful. Some people are more affected than others. Also some people may become addicted more easily. Used the way I use it, i.e. occasionaly and strictly for pleasure, I've had no problems. But it's a personal choice.

Mark on September 12, 2011:

And how harmful it really is please go into detail

Mark on September 12, 2011:

Hey I smoked shisha 4 to 5 times now and I am a dedicated sportsman. I am wondering if this affects in a long or short term cause I don`t want to harm my lungs or any part of the body anyway ? please answer

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on September 07, 2011:

Hi Akura - I do recommend treating it as an occasional indulgence only. Letting it become a daily habit is certainly a health risk. Thanks for the visit :)

Akura on September 07, 2011:

Iam sorry to say but shisha tobacco often contains a lot more nicotine an tar than regular cigarettes . If you buy directly from an arab country, the amounts can be alarming high, since there food and consumption laws a more lax than western countries. I started smoking shisha when i was 15 or 16 (before it became a fade, whatever that's worth)and soon i was hooked, smoked everyday and went on to ciggis do to the fact that you dident have to bring all that equipment with you.

Love it, but don't say its less a health risk than cigarettes .

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on September 05, 2011:

Hi mamabee - If she's smoking a normal shisha mixture it shouldn't be making her high, though a bit light-headed is normal. I wouldn't recommend any more than one a week. It's not good to let anything become a habit or an addiction.

mamabee on September 05, 2011:

love your responses paraglider, my niece recently started smoking this shisha though shes 22, she tells me it makes her high, is this the beginning of an addiction?

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on September 03, 2011:

I'm not qualified to answer that!

sliece mehiela on September 03, 2011:

I just smoked for 15 hours' as part of a spiritual cleansing ritual, how much will this shorten my life?

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on August 30, 2011:

Thanks jae - it's certainly a tradition here and not one that easily exports to very different cultures.

jae on August 30, 2011:

wonderful article, I love how you highlighted the ritual involved and the idea that your lungs operate on fresh air but a little indulgence now and then is not a bad thing.


John on August 10, 2011:

It's not going to affect sports performance trying it on occasion has as great of an effect on sports as having a drink on occasion.

Karim Saleh on August 02, 2011:

Thank you very much. I appreciate the advice. :)

Its not the fact of which im a dedicated sportsman. it's more or less that i wish to be able to play sports without feeling exhausted quickly maintain the level in which my stamina is at. And i was curious to know whether I could still maintain it whilst enjoying the "better' things in life in moderation. :)

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on August 02, 2011:

Hi Karim - I don't think taking shisha a few times per year would affect sports performance, except maybe the same day or the day after. On the other hand, if you're a dedicated sportsman, why not abstain from shisha completely until later life? I first smoked it age 50, ten years after my last triathlon! You've got all the time in the world :)

Karim Saleh on August 02, 2011:

Hi paraglider. This was a really informative article. I really appreciate this, it was the answer i was looking for. Im 14 years old and live in london but I was born and raised in dubai for the first 10 years of my life. When i went back on vacation with my friends they had invited me to a shisha bar, at first i wasn't too reluctant to take but then later on a personal matter had made me change. Which brings me to my question, now that I am reluctant to try shisha would it affect me i were to try it 3-4 times a year as a social gathering with friends when I am in vacation with my family to see my friends in dubai? Would it greatly affect how i perform in sports or activities etc.?


Karim. :)

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on June 22, 2011:

Hi Nick - keep the tradition going. The US tends to dumb down traditions, thinking it is adopting or improving them!

Nick on June 22, 2011:

I'm in the US and its true they have dumbed it down. My family is Chaldean, native people of the middle east not Arab, and we still use it as tradition. We have it for family get togethers while having a peaceful conversation while watching the sunset.

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on May 02, 2011:

Lacey - I'm not about to help a kid find ways of getting around his Mom. That has nothing to do with the ethos of the shisha as I know it.

Lacey on May 02, 2011:

Hello~ So I tried Shisha for the first time at my friend's house, and it was AMAZING. It tasted fantastic and I was completely relaxed. But, I'm too nervous to get my own hookah / shisha pipe. Because of my Mom flipping out, so are there different ways of smoking the tobacco?

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on January 22, 2011:

Hi JohnnyB - I'm not American and have no experience of the American shisha fashion. But assuming the shisha is the same as here in the Middle East, no, one experiment will not cause addiction. I would advise against inhaling into empty lungs. Better to take a deep breath in first, of fresh air, then breathe out a little, to make room. That way, you are diluting the smoke you inhale.

But remember, if you don't like it, just stop. It's not important!

JohnnyBravo on January 22, 2011:

Hey Paraglider! I'm at college this year and my classmates often talk about doing shisha in local shisha lounges. I have made friends with this guy and he's invited me to go have a puff (lool) with him. Im a little concerned as i've never smoked before/celebate in anything to do with drugs. Could I get addicted 1st time trying? Also, is there anything i should know as a first timer? I don't want to be on the floor spluttering or passing out because I've inhaled 'incorrectly'?

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on January 04, 2011:

Hi BFMV - If you discipline yourself to use it only occasionally, there's no reason to get hooked on it. For me, it belongs to the ambience of the Middle East and India. When I'm home in London I never bother to seek it out.

BFMV on January 03, 2011:

Also, what is the least harmful substance you can smoke from it?

BFMV on January 03, 2011:

Hey Paraglider, my friend went to india for the year, and he said he's going to brig a hookah home. He's 16, and I'm wondering if I try it, will i then get hooked on it and smoke cigarettes? I most definently don't want to get on cigarettes, but hookah looks like you can have a fun time with your friends, if not abused. Thanks, i'm 16

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on December 07, 2010:

Hi Ann - It's certainly a bad idea to let it become a habit!

ann on December 06, 2010:

love shisha. however i refrain from it as it most definitely is bad for you in the long run. u end up inhaling loads of carbon monoxide

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on December 03, 2010:

Hi Misty - It's a good tip for when I get back to UK, but here in the Gulf we don't have 'normal' luxuries like postal addresses, so Ebay ordering isn't so easy!

Cindy Lawson from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on December 03, 2010:

I buy mine from ebay.co.uk usually Paraglider, just search under 'shisha molasses'. They do great flavours such as banana, cherry, double apple, liquorice, mint etc, and they are only a couple of pounds per box.

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on December 03, 2010:

Hi Misty - I've not come across the non-tobacco shisha mixtures. I don't think it's something they offer in this part of the Gulf. It's the time of year now when sitting outside is perfect, not too hot or humid, so I might just be tempted to have one tonight. Thanks for the visit :)

Cindy Lawson from Guernsey (Channel Islands) on December 02, 2010:

I really enjoyed Shisha Pipes on my holiday in Egypt, and I did bring a 'souvenir' one back with me. Actually it works really well, but the novelty after a year has worn off a little, not least of which because I bought one with a brass base, so it is difficult to work out how much water to put into it, plus I can't clean inside the base easily because the entrance is so small. Now every time I use it the 'herbal tobaccos' all taste the same, (slightly aniseedy). What I would say is that I have only ever bought the 'nicotine and tobacco free' sticky molasses, so all in all I can't see why they would be too unhealthy. I know you can buy tobaccos for Shishas that include nicotine and true tobacco, but I avoided these due to being an ex-smoker. Hopefully therefore, mine were not too unhealthy compared to most things we do such as drinking alcohol, eating high cholesterol foods etc.

Great hub I really enjoyed it :)

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on December 02, 2010:

Hey John - If you're still expecting your mum to buy you things I'd say you're not ripe for shisha yet. It's a luxury you'll only appreciate when you've worked for it ;)

John humos on December 02, 2010:

hi im 13 ive been bugging my mum to get me a shisha because all my friends are the same age and they've got one but my mum said not sure and wants to find out if its alright thnx

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on October 15, 2010:

Leo - thanks for the tip. I've seen plenty of shisha places in London but not been tempted. But maybe when I've finished in the Middle East I'll check out a few UK places.

Leo on October 15, 2010:

Tried shisha for the first time in Dar es Salaam when I was 19.

Living in Manchester now and was amazed to find some great shisha bars. I agree that it's never quite as good as it is when you're sat somewhere hot with loud traffic and cool people, but if you ever want to try good Shisha in the UK, you could do alot worse than some grape and mint on Manchester's curry mile!

Cool article.

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on September 24, 2010:

manao3000 - nobody smokes marijuana for the taste! But then nobody starts smoking cigarettes for the taste either. We all make our own choices (and try to keep them as choices!)

manap3000 on September 23, 2010:

hey paraglider i realize you might be a little older but back in your day have you smoked shisha laced with marijuana, the couples times i've tried marijuana (only a couple times, and only on fridays) i've hated the taste

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on September 19, 2010:

Princess - I'm not sure it can ever provide the all-importance ambience so far from its natural home in the middle east. Thanks for the read :)

Princess on September 18, 2010:

Thank you for writing this, I just smoked strawberry flavored shisha yestserday on campus and I googled if it was bad for me or not...so thank you for posting this.

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on August 29, 2010:

Hi James - there are plenty of places in Bur Dubai & Deira where you can buy shisha pipes and tobacco at non-tourist prices. But whether or not there are age limits, I don't know. Either way - keep it as an occasional pleasure, not a habit, ok?

James =] on August 29, 2010:

Hi, great tips! im looking at getting my own shisha, i live in dubai and im 16 years old, would you have any idea if i would be able to purchase it here? if not, what is the age ? Many thanks. =D

hookah on August 27, 2010:

I just smoked a mint and lemon shisha and it was fantastic! The best I ever smoked.

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on July 25, 2010:

Thanks nettech - my first ever shisha was in Dubai, sitting outside Regent Plaza, just opposite the (then small) Bur Jamin Centre. My favourite venue now is an old Syrian cafe in Doha's Musheirib area. You're right, it is a pleasure.

nettech from London (UK) on July 25, 2010:

Just reading that hub made me relax and think about London's Edgware Road and also all my times in Dubai.

It is actually one of lifes pleasures and its wonderful when you can enjoy it with your friends.

The question now is can you blow hoops? lol

Great hub


Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on July 23, 2010:

Scott - it's much easier than cigarette smoke because it is not hot. I only know about the shisha scene in the Middle East, where it's part of the culture. I don't know what an American hookah bar is going to be like.

scott on July 23, 2010:

i have never been into smoking, ive taken a drag from a cig and it was hard for me to stop my self from coughing up a lung, my friends invited me to join them to a hookah bar and i want to join them but if im going to get that same feeling of it being hard to inhale the smoke then its going to be a waist of money. so i was wondering is hookah smoke going to be hard for me to in hail?

ultimatepotential from India on June 27, 2010:

This is some real interesting information you have shared here. Thanks a ton!

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on June 25, 2010:

Maybe a pair of earplugs?... good luck :)

Mehmet on June 25, 2010:

I'll be sure to look for one with a nice quite atmosphere, though I fear one particular friend of mine who is not familiar with the culture and the convention of a shisha bar may ruin it for the others their. Let's just say she speaks louder and faster then I believed possible. Maybe I shall just direct her here so she can get an idea of the customs.

Thanks :)

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on June 25, 2010:

Mehmet - choose a quiet shisha bar and be in no hurry. Then I'm sure you will enjoy the experience. Good luck!

Mehmet on June 25, 2010:

Hello Paraglider,

This was a great hub, a true pleasure to read. I have yet to smoke a shisha however, I have been meaning to try it for a while now. I think a few friends and I are planning to go to a shisha bar sometime next week, however, I live in Perth, Australia and I can only pray that the atmosphere at one of the bars here will be half as good as what you described in your article.

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on June 20, 2010:

The mixture goes in the cup, below the perforated foil. But don't try making your own until you've had a few properly prepared in a shisha cafe.

ijaz on June 20, 2010:

how do you smoke the shisha, do you burn the mixture with the charcoal or do you place it under the charcoal or do you mix it in the water?

NolaBaby on June 08, 2010:

Stolas6...It's one in New Orleans, La if your close by and wanna check it out...the website is hookah-club.com!

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on May 27, 2010:

A few traditionalists don't use foil but place the coals directly on the mixture. That way you'd see if it was finished. Other than that, if fresh coals still don't produce smoke, it's probably finished!

Mot on May 27, 2010:

How would I know if I'm finishing my Shisha (without looking at the bowl)? I tried it only once and I left after an hour when I couldn't seem to get more smoke from it. Not quite sure if I finished it.

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on May 16, 2010:

Lala - 2 or 3 times a day must be a considerable health risk, quite apart from losing the sense of occasion by over use. It's worth being a bit careful,I think :)

Lala on May 16, 2010:

I live in Dominican Republic and smooking hookah is really very common here. A lot of young boys and girls used it daily and 3 o 2 times a day. I use it too. A lot of things that u said i dindt know and its very important that many people knoww this.

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on March 20, 2010:

Laurel - A flavour for every mood! Shisha bars are very much a feature of the Middle East towns. I've heard about it spreading to US but haven't experienced them. In London, there are a few in the Lebanese areas particularly, but I'm never tempted when home. To me, they belong here in the Gulf.

Eric - thanks for the visit. I'd missed your comment, till now.

Laurel Rogers from Bishop, Ca on March 19, 2010:

Hello, Paraglider-

I was only recently introduced to the hookah/shisha, and am impressed with the various flavors available. It was my son who 'turned me on' to this since I have smoked cigarettes most of my life. I may be on the verge of changing into a shisha smoker since the damage is far less.

Shisha bars? I have never heard of these, but they sound delightful.



Eric on February 27, 2010:

Like the informative articel about smoking shisha pipes. I tried a few in various locations in Istanbull. My favourite place was a traditional place with only old local men smoking. The other place I really liked was a completely different place. It was a place for the young into rock which allowed you to pick up a pen and write any where on the walls. Both were really friendly and sole purpose was to smoke a pipe with a tea.

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on January 17, 2010:

Seen it, but not tried it. I think the darker smoke can come from the mixture getting too hot, but there could probably be other reasons too.

California on January 13, 2010:

Have you ever tried watermelon? Pretty popular here in California. Also, is there a difference between white smoke and a grey-er, darker smoke?

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on January 13, 2010:

Yes, it will (be black and ashy). But I would never try to save one for relighting later. I'd rather not start unless I was sure I had time, in fact - rushing defeats the purpose :) Thanks for the visit.

Phanessa on January 12, 2010:

How do you know when the shisha is all used up? Will it just be black and ashy? I don't always have the time to finish a full bowl, even with friends, but am unsure whether i should just throw the rest away or save it for later.

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on January 03, 2010:

Kim - don't try it at home until you've tried it served properly in a decent shisha cafe.

kim on January 03, 2010:

haw do i start shisha to smoke i mean i haw no idia haw to use shisah end i haw it et home

Dave McClure (author) from Worcester, UK on November 28, 2009:

WriteAngled - for similar reasons, I no longer have one at home! Thanks for the visit :)

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