How Shisha Tobacco vs Cigarettes Compare

Shisha tobacco is made from tobacco leaves, molasses, and fruit flavorings. Cigarette, on the other hand, is mainly made of tobacco leaves. However, some brands are flavored with mint or cloves.


Shisha Tobacco Ingredients

Shisha tobacco is made using three main ingredients including;

Tobacco leaves – Nicotine, the main ingredient in shisha tobacco, is obtained from tobacco leaves. It is responsible for mind and body relaxation.

Tobacco contains compounds such as carbon monoxide, nicotine, tar, formaldehyde, etc.

Molasses or sugar – Sugar as an ingredient makes shisha tobacco sweet and easy to consume.

Flavorings – Flavors used for this kind of product are extracted from fruits, for instance, vanilla, strawberry, mint, and apple.

Shisha Tobacco
Shisha Tobacco

Cigarette Contents

Cigarette, on the other hand, only contains tobacco as the main ingredient. However, within tobacco itself, there are over 600 ingredients.

Cigarette Contents
Cigarette Contents

The chemical compounds produced when cigarette tobacco is smoked are over 4,000.

How to Smoke Shish Tobacco vs Cigarette

Shisha Tobacco

Firstly, ensure that your hookah has been set up properly. You need to know how this pipe works, how to clean it, the amount of water needed, the connection, and the correct airflow.

Once your hookah has been set up, you are now ready to start smoking the shisha as follows;

  • Put small pinches of shisha tobacco in the bowl (this is to prevent the holes from clogging) until it’s ¾ full.
  • After filling the bowl with shisha, use aluminum foil to cover it, making sure it is well secured.
  • On the aluminum foil used to cover the shisha bowl, make holes that will give you just the perfect amount of smoke.
  • To produce the smoke, light charcoal (for hookah), then place it on top of the foil.
  • Now you can smoke gently by slowly drawing air via the hose using normal breathing speed.
  • During the smoking session, you can freely adjust the heat as desired to give you a fulfilling smoking session.


When smoking cigarettes, first, you need to pick a cigarette brand, which may or may not contain flavors like mint or cloves.

After choosing a brand, you can smoke your cigarette by following the steps given below;

  • Depending on the manufacturer’s guide, you can pack or not pack your cigarette before removing the plastic film. Packing requires you to smack the package of cigarettes from the filter side on your palm to tighten the tobacco packs.
  • Using a good and higher quality lighter, light your cigarette by using your lips to hold the cigarette from the filter side. While lighting, it’s necessary to inhale gently until the other end is completely lit.
  • Now to smoke the cigarette, you don’t need to rush it; take your time for a smooth and satisfying smoke experience. Hold the cigarette with your lips and not past your teeth; suck from it and inhale normal air into the lungs. Hold the air with the smoke in your lungs for a few seconds, then exhale. Take as many puffs as you want from the cigarette.
  • Another important step in cigarette smoking is how to ash; use an ashtray for the ash anytime you feel it’s necessary to ash.
  • Extinguishing the cigarette is very necessary to avoid any accidents. Once your cigarette has burnt to almost next to the filter, extinguish it in an ashtray or by stepping on the butt.
How to Smoke Cigarette
How to Smoke Cigarettes


For Relaxation

Both shisha tobacco and cigarette contain nicotine which plays an important role in helping smokers feel relaxed and at ease.

Conducive Social Environment

Most shisha and cigarette smokers do it because they want to fit into a social class and socialize with them. They call smoking shisha or cigarettes an icebreaker.

Cleaner and Better Scent

Many smokers prefer shisha tobacco to cigarettes because they feel the former has a cleaner scent and better taste.

Controlling High Pretension

Some researchers reason that the smoke from shisha or cigarettes can tighten blood vessels within the airways and throat. According to them, this will, as a result, drop the blood pressure.

Reduction of Weight

Nicotine in shisha and cigarettes is believed to reduce hunger and appetite, leading to a cut in weight. In fact, some companies advertise their brands using this fact.

Health Effects


Both shisha and cigarette smoking is known to be a risk factor of lung cancer. The smoke contains carcinogenic chemicals such as tar, carbon monoxide. Shisha is, however, more of a cancer risk factor than cigarettes. This is because the lungs are exposed to the smoke for longer hours during a hookah session than with cigarettes.

Lung Cancer
Lung Cancer

Cardiovascular Diseases

Shisha tobacco smoke contains toxins that can enter the arteries and cause atherosclerosis which narrows the arteries. Such changes may cause conditions like heart failure, stroke or heart attack.

Cardiovascular Disease in Smokers
Cardiovascular Disease in Smokers


The nicotine content in cigarettes and shisha makes users addictive to smoking, and they cannot function properly. As a result, nicotine may stimulate the production of adrenaline; causing a rise in blood pressure.

Infectious Diseases for Shisha Tobacco Smokers

Infectious diseases such as bacteria caused by tuberculosis and fungus caused by Aspergillus can easily be transferred through the apparatus. If proper hygiene is not observed through proper cleaning and maintenance, these infections can easily spread among users.


Shisha tobacco prices vary from one region to the other; likewise, the prices of cigarettes. However, generally, if you were to compare the same amount of shisha in a session (one hour) with cigarettes, shisha is cheaper. A packet of cigarettes coast around 27 USD, while one shisha session costs approximately 20 USD.

Flavor Options

Shisha Tobacco Flavors

Shisha tobacco is available in almost unlimited fruit flavor combinations. Some flavors include peach, mango, wild berry, hurricane, and more. These fruit flavors can also be combined in many possible ways.

Cigarette Flavors

Cigarettes also come in various flavors, which can be obtained by adding them to the cigarette paper, tobacco, filter, or foil wrapper. Some of the flavors found in cigarettes include; alcohol, citrus, clove, mint, cinnamon, wintergreen, etc.


Hookah Equals to How Many Cigarettes?

According to research done by British Heart Foundation, a normal shisha session may take between 20 to 80 minutes. Within this period, a consumer inhales an equal amount of nicotine consumed by a cigarette smoker doing more than 100 cigarettes.

Therefore, a session of one hour of shisha smoking is approximately 100-200 cigarettes depending on the number and frequency of inhales.

Is Flavored Hookah Tobacco better than Cigarettes?

Flavored hookah tobacco may offer benefits like a conducive environment for socializing and relaxation. However, shisha tobacco contains almost all the harmful contents in a cigarette. Such components include tar, heavy metals, and nicotine.

Is Cigarette Tobacco same as Shisha Tobacco?

Shisha and cigarette tobacco have a lot of similarities, especially in their contents and health effects. The main difference is the smoking process (shisha is smoked through a water pipe). Another difference is that shisha tobacco is usually fruit-flavored, while cigarette is not.


Many shisha smokers have been misguided that shisha tobacco is not as harmful as cigarettes. They end up thinking that shisha is less addictive and has fewer health effects compared to cigarettes. However, research has proved that shisha is even more harmful than cigarettes because people tend to consume it for longer hours.

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