What's the Difference Between Hookah and Shisha?

Shisha Tobacco on Hookah Rig

The popularity of shisha and hookah has grown in recent years, particularly among young people who now use it socially in modern hookah lounges. Often these terms are used interchangeably, with many not knowing the difference between the two words. Hookah and shisha are becoming increasingly popular in Tampa and are worth further examining to fully understand. So, let’s take a closer look and explore the history of these terms and how they're related, as well as different. 

What exactly is hookah? 

The word hookah can be traced back to the Indian subcontinent region and dates back hundreds of years. It is believed that this type of smoking tobacco originated in this area, before it spread to neighboring nations and extended overseas due to British control over the Indian colony from 1858 until 1947. The meaning of the word hookah translates literally as “pot jar” or “hollow.” It was also commonly used in the Middle East region and it gained popularity in North Africa. In the Middle East however, the name hookah was not used, and instead the device was known as argilah or argileh.

Many of the hookah pipes are highly decorated and considered works of art, with many including intricate artwork and designs with vibrant colors often representative of their founding area. Modern, sleek hookah rigs are also beginning to gain popularity in younger consumers.

Decorated Hookah Rig

It can be used in the home, in public, or in special bars or restaurants specifically designated for enjoying hookah among friends with drinks, food, and music. As the popularity of hookah pipes increased, many cafes have popped up around the world with hookah pipes in their lounges. This started in the Middle East and then moved to other areas such as America, Australia and Europe. Today, there is a bustling hookah scene in Tampa, particularly South Tampa. 

What is shisha, then

The word sisha can be traced back to Persia, now known as Iran, where the word shishe means glass. The term is still commonly used in Egypt to talk about the water pipe, rather than the smoking substance. In this case however, it is not referring to the entire hookah rig however and is instead talking about only the glass bowl at the base of it.

The word shisha’s most common meaning today is to describe the tobacco that is used inside the hookah rig. Shisha comes in a variety of flavors – most of the popular ones being fruit based, such as gum mint, peach, and watermelon. Shisha is most commonly smoked with a hookah pipe; however, it can also be used in a number of other ways. A type of shisha can be used in cigarettes or even e-cigarettes however this is far less common than the traditional hookah pipe.

Explore the differences between hookah and shisha at our South Tampa location. 

To summarize, the word hookah refers to the pipe itself, while shisha is the tobacco substance that is smoked in the pipes. The hookah pipe itself is simple to use, however, if you haven’t tried it before then we recommend visiting a proper hookah lounge, such as Findy Cigar Company and Hookah Lounge in South Tampa, where you can learn how to use it. You will soon see why it has become so popular in recent years.



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