Shisha is known by many names around the world. Some call it Hookah, some call it hubbly bubbly while some call them argyle; however, they are all essentially the same. Shisha has become the most popular social past times among men and women of all ages, especially in the Middle East. In Saudi Arabia, it is very common to find people smoking shisha inside cafes, restaurants and even at homes. The immense popularity of shisha has caused it to be banned in several regions in the Kingdom, however, Jeddah remains the trend’s hotspot and it is yet to be banned there.[irp]
Shisha is essentially a device that lets the user smoke flavored tobacco. A special ceramic bowl is put on top of the shisha and covered with aluminum foil. The foil has picked sized holes made into it usually by a toothpick. The bottom comprises of a glass vase like structure which is partly filled with water. The vase and cup are adjoined by a metal body which will have an input for the pipe for smoking. The tobacco is essentially plain raw tobacco which is mixed with color agents and flavor that enable the tobacco to taste and smell differently while being smoked. The most popular flavors are double apple, grape, mint and cocktail. However, a wide range of other flavors such as bubblegum and strawberry rose are also available in the market. One thing to remember when ordering shisha outside is to always ask them for the popular flavor, as it is most likely to be fresh. Unpopular flavors usually stay on the shelf longer which makes it go stale.
The pipe used for smoking shisha comes in different forms and is brought upon personal preference. There are the regular pipes which are for personal use. These pipes absorb any smell of the previous session, often distorting the taste. They are also required to be cleaned often. Plastic pipes are a cheap, hygienic and disposable option which is more popular amongst users.
The coal used in shisha is ordinary lit coal that burns the tobacco while smoking. Special quick Ignite coals are also available for shisha use specifically but they contain a chemical which is rumored to cause lung damage. To know whether the coal is burning enough take a puff and if the smoke is too little, it’s time to change the coal.[irp]
However exciting and cool one might find shisha to be I am obligated to tell my readers that shisha is just another form of smoking and it has been proven that its effects are similar, if not greater, than smoking. Although the underage sale is prohibited kids somehow always find a way to indulge in these things and it should be noted that any form of smoking has more damaging effects to developing bodies rather than fully grown adults. These days many places have even banned smoking shisha indoors so that any non-smokers won’t inhale the second-hand smoke.