What is the Difference Between Shisha and Hookah?

What is the Difference Between Shisha and Hookah?

Tobacco users seem to be always looking for new ways to enjoy their fave substance. The trends include the more traditional smoking methods: hookah and shisha. Both of them are mostly used in countries like Turkey, Iran, India, and the rest of the Middle East. Western society surprisingly also uses the methods to enjoy their tobacco substances and is becoming a trend along with the emergence of hookah lounges. This is why hookah and shisha gain more popularity in the last 2-3 years.

However, most people don’t know the difference between hookah and shisha. What are they? How can we distinguish between hookah and shisha?




  1. Derived from Arabic Word

Hookah comes from the Arabic word ‘huqqa’, which means ‘pot, jar’ and ‘cavity, hollow’. However, countries like Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine mostly call hookah Argilah or Argileh.

  1. Refers to the water pipe used for smoke

This is the main difference between hookah and shisha. Hookah is the name of the water pipe used for smoke. Various substances go through the pipe to be then smoked or vaporized. Before the smoke is inhaled, it passes through a water basin which becomes the main part of the device. The water basin is typically made of glass and is more considered a work of art since the shape is unique and aesthetic.

  1. It needs hookah charcoal to light the tobacco

Water. Glass. Smoke. They sound like things you needed during chemistry class in school. But, how do they work? The smoke comes from the combustion of tobacco molasses and specialized coals placed in a bowl on the top of the device. The smoke then goes through the water chamber and cools down. The result will be smooth and silky smoke.

However, not all kinds of coals can be used for hookah combustion. Hookah needs long-lasting coals with no other chemicals or contamination. Pohacee Hookah Charcoal is one of a kind. Made of 100% coconut shell from Sulawesi and Sumatra, the charcoal is odorless and burns three times longer than ordinary coal. The burn is up to 180 minutes with a temperature at a minimum of 500 ºC. Pohacee’s Hookah Charcoal is an eco-friendly product since it needs no tree cut for the manufacturing process.

  1. Hookah smoking gains popularity around the world

Hookah’s exact origin is still debatable. However, there is wide opinion saying that it was India who created the device and then transported it to the East, including the Middle East area. The hookah has become more popular in Western Society for the last 20 years or so. Then, for the last 2-3 years, hookah lounges emerged among them, making hookah practice popular to the world.


  1. Derived from Persian Word

Shisha is taken from the Persian word ‘shishe’, which directly translates to ‘glass’ in English. But, in Egypt, Shisha represents the water pipe device, which makes the word completely interchangeable with hookah.

  1. Refers to the tobacco substance used for Hookah

To make it simpler, shisha is commonly associated with the tobacco substance used for hookah. In the other words, while hookah refers to the device, shisha is the substance. However, you can enjoy shisha without hookah. There are plenty of shisha-based products available on the market such as e-cigarettes and pens containing them.

  1. Fruit flavored

Shisha is not just tobacco. Traditionally, the tobacco used for shisha is soaked in flavored juice and placed in a hookah bowl. This is why shisha is often fruit-flavored.

In short, hookah refers to the pipe and shisha is the tobacco itself. However, the terms are just formal. You may have heard people use the terms hookah and shisha interchangeably, even the professional. Both shisha and hookah are widely accepted as a word that can also be used for describing the practice of smoking through the water pipe.


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