The truth behind the smoke
Shisha smoking is also called hookah, narghile, water pipe or hubble bubble smoking. It is a way of smoking tobacco, sometimes mixed with fruit or molasses sugar, through a bowl and hose or tube.
Shisha and COVID-19
Shisha smoking carries all the health risks of smoking, and sharing the mouthpiece greatly increases the risk of spreading COVID-19. Public Health England strongly advises against the sharing of any smoking devices.
For more on the government guidelines please visit the dedicated page on COVID-19 advice for smokers and vapers.
Smoking shisha is just as damaging to your health as smoking cigarettes. The flavourings and sweeteners only disguise the harmful ingredients in the tobacco.
The water in the shisha pipe does not filter out harmful chemicals and you are still exposing yourself and those around you to these chemicals. The water cools the smoke making it less irritating but not less harmful.
Smoking shisha tobacco is just like smoking cigarettes. They both contain nicotine, which is addictive.
Smoking shisha can damage your health and the health of those around you. Passive smoking through second hand smoking can cause lung cancer in adults. Non smokers can be exposed to second hand smoke which contains tobacco and other substances from the heat source such as the burning of charcoal.
Smoking herbal shisha is not safer as it usually contains tobacco. Even if you use tobacco-free shisha, you’re still at risk from carbon monoxide and any toxins in the coal or charcoal used to burn the shisha. Second hand smoke is also a risk to health when smoking herbal shisha.
Are shisha cafes exempt from smoke-free regulations?
No. Shisha cafes must comply with the smoke-free regulations which have been in force since 1 July 2007 to protect the public and people at work from the harmful effects of second hand smoke.
Our Public Health team have put together a compliance guide to help the owners of cafes, bars and restaurants ensure they’re meeting statutory requirements.
Want to quit? We can help
Are you concerned about the health risks associated with smoking shisha? For more information and for advice on how you can stop smoking call the Smokefree National Freephone Helpline on 0300 123 1044 or visit our dedicated stop smoking support page