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Dos & Don’ts of Shisha/Hookah Smoking

Things to Avoid while Smoking a Shisha/Hookah

Does it ever bother you, when someone touches you shisha, tries to pull the shisha hose away from you, fight over a shisha or perhaps even uses your shisha supplies without your permission?

The main reason for such an annoying behaviour is the lack of shisha/hookah etiquettes and knowledge about using it, properly. Being a friend, it’s your utmost responsibility to educate your friends and members of the family about the shisha dos and don’ts so they won’t let you down anywhere.

We have gone through different shisha forums to identify the common mistakes committed by the new shisha smokers to bring you this guide to the dos and don’ts of shisha / hookah smoking.

Do not Question your hosts Shisha Knowledge

Most of the times, people give free advice on how to prepare or set up a hookah pipe to their host. This is one of the crabbiest things for any shisha smoker; everyone prepares shisha according to the anatomy of his/her shisha pipe, and taste preference. It’s better to respect their choice and join them without challenging their knowledge. Their house, their shisha, their rules!

shishapipes, hookah, dos & donts of shisha/hookah smoking, shishapipesTrying to handle Heat Management

If your friend has invited you for a shisha session, then let him be the captain of his ship. It should be his authority to manage the heat of the shisha. Don’t try to be over smart by turning charcoals or adding new ones without his permission. Your host should have exclusive rights for the heat management of his shisha. If your host ask’s you to look after the heat management then you should perform this to the best of your abilities. Remember, smoking shisha is a social experience.

Do not Turn your Nose Up to Someone else’s Choice of Flavours

It’s considered rude to refuse to smoke someone else’s shisha on the basis of the choice of shisha flavour or shisha pipe. Flavour choice is subjective to the smoker and one should respect his/her host’s choice. Do let your friend know beforehand about your flavour preferences, in order to avoid an awkward situation after the shisha session has been prepared and started.

Do not Use Someone Else’s Shisha Pipe without Permission

One of my friends told me that someone used his shisha without permission, and didn’t set it properly. As a result of which, it took him few days to merely get his favourite thick clouds back.

Be cautious, and always take an owner’s consent before using someone’s shisha. It is one of the most important shisha etiquettes to remember. Where possible, do invest in your own shisha pipe so that you can smoke it whenever and where ever you are.

Do not Giving Random Feedback about Shisha

Usually, people get offended when you give a negative feedback about their shisha. Avoid getting caught up into such unpleasant situations, as there are ways to be constructive without offending e.g. “Your shisha was great, perhaps in future we can create more thicker clouds by trying a different setup with the coals or reducing the amount of water in the jar?”

Do not Blow Shisha Smoke in Someone’s face

Smoking in someone’s face has been considered bad-manners for the long time. Always avoid this thing; it is one of the basic shisha etiquettes, and most of the people know about this. Instead do blow out the smoke downwards or high in to the air above you where you can see that people will not be walking into.

dos & donts of the shisha/hookah smoking, shisha, hookah

Do Not Hog The Shisha Hose

We all know at least one person that does this, someone who always has to hit the shisha twice or more before passing it to the next smoker. Seriously, it drives everyone crazy! So if you are that person stop hogging the hose and start passing it on, quickly!

Do Not Lose your Mouth Tips

Shisha tips, dos & don'ts of shisha/hookah smoking, shishapipes London, hookah pipes UK
Shisha Mouth Tips Reusable

Always take care of shisha mouth tips given to you for a smoking session. People who lose their mouth tips and ask for a replacement one tent to annoy other people as well as the host. Why? Because it shows a lack of responsibility to look after a small item and then may require someone to actually get up to find another one! The point of shisha smoking is to relax in a calm social environment. Do not prove to be a bad guest for someone, and always respect his or her stuff.


Piercing Holes on the Aluminium Foil

The piercing of holes on someone else’s bowl foil without his/her permission should always be avoided. Especially when your intention is to make it more suitable for your own smoking preferences.  You should always ask the host before customising his/her shisha/hookah. Being a host, you should always try to get your guests involved with you while setting up a shisha pipe to help with the bonding experience, remember shisha is a social experience.

Do not lift a Shisha Pipe by it’s Stem or Tray

When looking to pick up and move a shisha pipe, do not under any circumstance lift it directly by holding the tray or its stem, as it could fall and potentially damage or even break the glass jar! The tray is normally pushed in from the top so if you lift it, the weight of the shisha pipe will push down and cause the pipe to come crashing downwards. Likewise, the stem, whilst is much firmer, is normally secured to the jar by a rubber grommet which again is bearing the weight of the shisha jar with its water contents. This could also cause the weight to force the jar to come off, break and spill its contents. The optimal method is to use one or two hands and to firmly grasp the shisha pipe by the neck of the jar.This will allow you to balance the weight of the pipe without the risk of it falling. If you are using two hands, place your second hand on middle of the stem.

If you see a new smoker commits this mistake, then you should always politely advise him of their mistake and what the correct way to do this would be.

Adding Additional Stuff in the Base

Some smokers opt to add additional flavours into the jar to enhance the flavour such as adding milk, juice, or glycerin in the shisha base. If this is not your shisha pipe then beware! You are asking for trouble here as you because it could make the shisha dirty and difficult to clean later as well as potentially leave a strong lingering odour or taste that may be present in later sessions. DO speak to the owner first about his previous experiences with additional flavours and if he would be happy to experiment.

Read our article on Four Reasons to Clean Hookah Pipes, Regularly

Be careful when using pure milk in your Shisha base – what will happen is that the hot smoke that passes through the milk will cause the milk to curdle within 15 to 20 minutes of use and make the whole shisha taste and session unpleasant. Instead it is recommended that use dilute the milk with water that will prevent the above but will at the same time allow you to produce much thicker clouds.

Avoid Smoking on an Empty Stomach or Whilst Eating Food

Holding a shisha hose with oily hands will definitely bother other people smoking with you. Always hold the hose with the clean hands. Moreover, do not smoke if you haven’t eaten – as your body wants to draw the smoke into the stomach and this leads to people getting light headed and tightness in their stomach. It is also highly recommended that one should not lie down flat on your back while smoking to avoid nausea.

Get your Friends Involved while Packing the Bowl

Friends love to participate in packing and preparing a shisha bowl, and it’s more of good etiquettes if you ask them to join you. On the other hand, friends should respect their host, and let him/her do it his/her way.

Do Not Try to Jump over your Shisha Pipe

This is very dangerous especially with the hot coal on top, you risk getting tripped over which in tern can damage the shisha pipe, break the shisha jar, burn your host’s carpets and even hurt yourself! If you need to jump around do so elsewhere like in a club or your own home.

Always Use Fully Burned Charcoals

Do not use charcoal that has not been fully burned  – as the fumes from the initial stage of burning raw charcoal and contain toxic gasses, that spoil the taste of the shisha flavour and also can be dangerous to your health.

Use Tongs to Flip Charcoals

Sometimes, people get carried away and try to flip the burning charcoal with their hands instead of using shisha tongs. Don’t pick up charcoal that is lit with your fingers – as this can lead to burnt fingers. Newcomers should be educated about this.

Shisha Purging

Don’t blow too hard when purging the Base Jar of smoke – as this can often lead to water going back up the stem and make your shisha bowl wet.

The Shisha Shop has tried to mention all important shisha smoking don’ts in the article but if anything has been missed feel free to leave a comment below.

The Shisha Shop, 11-13 Fairways Business Park, Lammas Road, E10 7QT London, United Kingdom

TEL: +44 20 8133 3263

Dos & Don’ts of Shisha/Hookah Smoking


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