Digital Redmark • 20 Sep 2023

What Is The Difference Between Shisha and Hookah?

Have you wondered what the difference is between a shisha and a hookah?

These terms get thrown around a lot and it can be hard to know whether they mean the same thing or two different things.

Shisha and hookah bars have exploded in popularity but many of us can get a little confused about what shisha is and what hookah is.

You’re in the right place!

Quick History Of The Hookah

Hookah dates back centuries to places in the middle east. The exact origins of the hookah are hard to know but it is generally believed that a man, Abu Al-fath Gilani, invented a smoking device in the hopes of purifying the tobacco and reducing any negative effects from smoking the substance.

Now, whether hookah, as we know it, has any ability to purify tobacco before it enters your body is unproven but it has become a popular way to enjoy tobacco.

Throughout most of its history, the tobacco pipe that drew smoke through water was called a hookah. The term hookah is thought to have derived from the Persian word ‘Haqqa’, which means jar or pot.

However, shisha was also another term used for the smoking pipe but used predominantly in Arab countries.

It specifically refers to the glass base of a hookah and is another word derived from the Persian language.

What is a Hookah?

These days, hookah and shisha are different things.
The word hookah still describes the glass smoking pipe. Hookahs come in hundreds of designs but most of them will have each of these elements:

• A small bowl containing smoking material, such as tobacco
• A shorter chamber for smoke creation
• A pipe filled with water
• One or more pipes/hoses with a mouthpiece to inhale the smoke

The tobacco is placed in a bowl at the top of the hookah and then covered in hot coals to create the smoke. Then, as you draw breath through the pipes or hoses, the smoke passes through the water before being inhaled.

What is a Shisha?

In Eurocentric countries, the word shisha now refers to the tobacco products used in a hookah.

However, it’s not just any regular tobacco that is used for your hookah. Shisha typically comprises of tobacco leaf that can be soaked in molasses or honey. Then it is flavoured further with fruit or aromatic herbs and spices.

In middle eastern countries, the terms shisha and hookah are still used interchangeably to refer to the actual smoking pipe.

Want To Try Shisha & Hookah?

Here at Up In Smoke Perth, we have a large range of delicious shisha flavours, as well as all of the equipment and accessories you need to enjoy hookah with your friends.

Click here to check out our range.
Or visit one of our Café and Shisha Lounges in Perth.



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