The Differences Between Traditional Hookah Flavors and Tobacco-Free Shisha

May 24 , 2022

The Differences Between Traditional Hookah Flavors and Tobacco-Free Shisha

There are hundreds of shisha tobacco flavors available today. However, a vast majority of these flavors use tobacco leaves, whether dark or blonde. The flavors aside, we have nicotine-free and menthol-based shisha flavors. Still, these products use tobacco leaves.

Tobacco has been the base for all types of traditional shisha flavors ever since hookah has been around. But the contemporary flavors we have that run into hundreds are a recent phenomenon. For hundreds of years, hookah tobacco didn’t contain as many flavors. Most shisha flavors were confined to tobacco leaves and a bit of molasses or honey, rarely any fruit extracts.

Thus, when we talk about traditional hookah flavors, we are limiting the discussion to the shisha tobacco that uses the leaves of the nicotiana plant. And the tobacco-free shisha flavors are in a completely different category. 

Tobacco-Free Shisha Doesn’t Contain Nicotine

The first and most noteworthy difference between traditional hookah flavors and tobacco-free shisha is the nicotine content. Any tobacco-free shisha flavor doesn’t contain nicotine because the source of the chemical is the leaf of a nicotiana plant. 

Since nicotiana plant leaves aren’t being used, the nicotine content is entirely missing from the tobacco-free shisha flavors. However, this difference is not the same as nicotine-free hookah or shisha tobacco. 

Shisha flavors that are advertised as nicotine-free still use tobacco leaves. The fact that they are free of nicotine or have nominal amounts is due to the washing and processing. So what you get as nicotine-free shisha flavors are tobacco leaves but without the chemical.

In the case of tobacco-free shisha, there is no nicotine in the base material, to begin with. Thus, whether or not you wash, process, and flavor the leaves you use, the end product will not have any nicotine unless you have tobacco in it. 

Tobacco-Free Shisha Is Made of Tea Leaves and Herbs

Tobacco-free shisha uses tea leaves or herbs. Some products may use both tea leaves and herbs. Hence, there is no tobacco or nicotiana leaves. In effect, the end product doesn’t have any tobacco or nicotine. 

It is worth noting here that a tobacco-free shisha flavor doesn’t necessarily mean there are no chemicals whatsoever. Tea leaves and herbs contain various compounds, but there isn’t any nicotine.

The tobacco or nicotine content is where the differences end in this context. Tobacco-free hookah or shisha can have just as many flavors as the traditional products. So, you can get an apple or a tropical fruit flavor. Likewise, you can have all kinds of blends. 

The fruit extracts, spices, and other flavorings used in traditional hookah can also be infused into tobacco-free shisha. The only difference is the source or type of leaf. Instead of nicotiana leaves, tobacco-free shisha flavors may have tea leaf, herb, both, or more in some cases. 

Traditional Hookah Tobacco May Be More Addictive

Tobacco is addictive due to the nicotine content. I’m not talking about cigarettes that contain many more chemicals, most of which are synthetic or manufactured by the companies. The tobacco leaves are rich in nicotine, which gives you the lightheaded pleasantness and kick.

Thus, traditional hookah tobacco with nicotine can be more addictive. This reason is the driving factor for many people opting for nicotine-free hookah flavors. If you want to quit smoking, as in cigarettes, you ought to switch to shisha tobacco flavors that have nearly or exactly 0% nicotine.

In the case of tobacco-free shisha flavors that use tea leaves and herbs, you don’t have to worry about the addiction aspect because there is no nicotine. However, the flavors may still keep you hooked to hookah, or at least a few shisha products that you absolutely love.

Tobacco-Free Shisha Can Be More Affordable

Tobacco has one of the highest taxes in many parts of the country and around the world. Thus, traditional hookah flavors using tobacco are expensive as the companies have to factor in these taxes. Tobacco-free shisha flavors don’t have such taxes levied on the finished product.

Therefore, tobacco-free shisha can be more affordable. However, that’s a theory. The cost of tea leaves or herbs that form the foundation of tobacco-free shisha flavors may account for a spike in production costs. Besides, the availability issue due to supply and demand is a reality.

Tobacco-Free Shisha Is Not Readily Available

Most companies don’t make tobacco-free shisha flavors, at least not in the range and quantity that traditional hookah is produced right now. So, it may be a while for tobacco-free shisha to be widely or readily available. Thus, the prices may not be more affordable than shisha tobacco. 

Tobacco-Free Shisha Taste Is Not Exactly Like Traditional Hookah

Tobacco-free shisha can have the exact flavors, molasses, glycerin, and honey among other extracts that you find in traditional hookah. But you won’t inhale any nicotine. Thus, you will not experience the typical lightness and other feelings of consuming tobacco.

That said, tea leaves or herbs may have their own distinct effect on your mood. Besides, the flavors of tobacco-free shisha can be identical to traditional hookah. Hence, if you are drawn to hookah due to the flavors, the nicotine or tobacco-free factor won’t be an issue at all.