The Popularity of Shisha among European Youths

Shisha is nothing new
among youths in Europe. At least one out of five teenagers ever tried it. Some
even may fall in love with it and prefer to smoke Shisha than a regular
cigarette or vape. But since they are easily dismissing any possible risk from
using a narghile, most people are showing concern or even putting a stigma on
smoking hookah. It’s time to see the complete picture of what shisha is
and why it’s popular among the youth. 


Shisha in Europe

The apparatus
originated from the Persian Kingdom back in the 16th century. This unique water
pipe has several parts where users need to heat the hookah and inhale the
smoke. Tobacco used in shisha is also unique since it only has 20% of natural,
undiluted tobacco leaves. The rest is flavoring, fructose, and glycerine. As a
comparison, a regular cigarette consists of 70% tobacco leaves, 20% spices, and
10 % other mixtures.

Some people put the
migrants as the reasons why it’s growing in popularity. But smoking shisha has
been part of European culture for many centuries. You can take a look at the
time when Egyptian and England worked together for the Suez Canal. The earliest
record of smoking hookah in Europe is when European travelers went to India
through the middle east. They experience communal smoking as the thing that can
smoothen up their conversation with the locals. A very vast difference in the
alcohol culture from their origin countries.


Shisha Bars

Today, you can find
numerous shisha bars or lounges in any major city in Europe. There are at least
5000 lounges in Germany that youths frequently visit. These bars happen because
shisha is an expensive apparatus. It’s at least 3 feet tall, with so many nooks
and hoses. In short, it’s a hassle to own one for personal use. But most
importantly, there is a communal sense where they share the smoke.


The Appeal of Shisha to Youth

Many experts agree
that the communal feel is the primary appeal for the youth. They are at the age
where they are still malleable and willing to try as to not fall out of favors
with their peers.

The wide range of
smoke flavors also helps in growing its popularity. A 2021 research found that
20% of Spaniards aged between 18 and 25 smoke waterpipe daily. Most of them are
male and they admit that it’s the flavors that attract them. Anyhow, it’s worth
noting that most youths who smoked waterpipes only do it once a week, while
those who only smoke traditional cigarettes can smoke up to 20 cigarettes in a

Setting up a hookah
can be a novel experience for some. They need to gather and wait until it’s
light and ready to smoke. The session itself only lasts up to an hour. 


The Risks of Smoking Shisha

Smoking is not without
risks. Despite numerous warnings, the number of people who smoke cigarettes is
still growing. And since many people conflate the apparatus with a bong, Hookah
is not immune to some misleading claims on health risks.

Everyone needs to
understand that most hookah bars are already protected by law and follow the
necessary regulations. In essence, smoking hookah is an adult-only activity.
Even though it’s primarily sugar and flavoring, it still possesses some risks.


Health Risks

Many people put
smoking with nargile in the same category as smoking a cigarette or vaping. But
it possesses fewer health risks since it doesn’t have tar or other toxins like
its counterparts. Most people enjoy smoking with a hookah for the experience
and their mental benefit.

However, you need to
pay attention to the burner it used. If the shisha place uses coconut
briquettes, you don’t have to worry since it’s much safer to inhale. These
charcoal made from coconut shells may take a while to light, but they are
natural products.

It’s not a secret that
some youths may experiment with drugs when they use waterpipe. When it comes
down to this, not even coconut charcoal can save them. Smoking the narghile may
be safe, but the drugs are dangerous for their bodies.

Even though it’s
almost unheard of, an allergic reaction is a possible health risk. Traditionally,
a group that shares the waterpipe will smoke from the same hose. To prevent any
allergic reaction and for hygiene reasons, it’s more common to use disposable
mouthpieces. Even so, any youths who want to experiment with hookah may need to
check if they can inhale the smoke or if it will cause some issues. 


Social Risks

When a youth refuses
to join in with their peers to smoke shisha, they may experience bullying.
There are numerous cases where a simple dispute about who smokes what can lead
to a more serious situation. 

Bullying is only one
part of the issue. As mentioned above, smoking narghile is a community
activity. To some groups, it’s their way to mingle and talk with friends.
Unlike a cigarette smoker, someone who smokes hookah will have to visit the bar
for the experience. This can lead to another issue where they may argue with
other patrons. 

One social risk that
people hardly notice is the price of smoking hookah. If you compare the price
of smoking different tobacco products (vaping, cigarettes, narghile, and
others), you will see that waterpipe is not cheap. In addition that it’s a
once-a-week experience, smoking hookah also has more regulations than others.
Some cities or states may ban shisha altogether while others put a heavy operational


While there may be a
growing concern about smoking habits among the youth, Shisha shouldn’t be one.
It has the lowest tobacco content and its unique flavoring makes youths crave
more. But above all that, the apparatus gives it a “cool vibe” all
teenagers want. 

However, there is
still concern about the activity. Some youths may be using too much coconut
charcoal BBQ in their hookah bowl which causes some respiratory issues. At any
rate, with the growing interest in the waterpipe among youths, an accompanying
education to guide them is also much needed.


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