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The fundamental differences in composition

In 2019, Advanced Inhalation Rituals published research comparing shisha cloud derived from tobacco containing flavored shisha products to cigarette smoke. Its key findings were that shisha cloud contains fewer, and far lower concentrations of tobacco-related toxicants compared to cigarette smoke. In fact, shisha cloud is primarily composed of water, glycerol, and propylene glycol (similar composition to the aerosol formed by “vaping”). Carbon monoxide present in the shisha cloud arises from the burning charcoal used as the heating source.

Advanced Inhalation Rituals continuously invests in the development of technologies that can be used to reduce carbon monoxide or completely replace charcoal as a heating source, thereby eliminating or significantly reducing carbon monoxide in shisha cloud.

In contrast to shisha cloud, cigarette smoke is known to contain thousands of chemicals, generated through the burning of tobacco, paper, inks, and adhesives used in their manufacture. Many of the chemicals present in cigarette smoke are associated with smoking-related diseases. Figure 2.0 visually demonstrates the significant differences between equal volumes of cigarette smoke and shisha cloud. In contrast to the filter pad used for the collection of shisha cloud, the one used for the collection of cigarette smoke is completely discolored by the by-products of burning.

Figure 2.0: Equal volumes of a.) shisha cloud (Total Collected Matter), and b.) cigarette smoke (Total Particulate Matter) (right) collected on a filter pad during laboratory analysis.

Conv shisha 1925ml / CM9 1925ml


The composition of shisha cloud is so different from cigarette smoke that simplistic comparisons of the weight of material produced by one shisha session vs one cigarette does not provide meaningful information to help assess health risks. It is more useful to analyze the levels of individual chemicals in shisha cloud compared to cigarette smoke.

Nicotine-free dry particulate matter (NFDPM)

This does not mean that shisha is risk free, but it does mean that shisha aerosol poses considerably and significantly less risk compared to cigarette smoking.

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