Smoking a shisha pipe is as injurious to health as smoking tobacco, according to a research by the Department of Health and the Tobacco Control Collaborating Centre.
Shisha is an Arabic pipe with a flexible tube. Water is used to cool the smoke that is produced by burning fruit-scented tobacco.
The study also found that one shisha smoking session could produce four to five times more carbon monoxide than smoking a cigarette could do, though the exact level of carbon monoxide inhaled by each cigarette smoker was different and could not be ascertained.
High carbon monoxide levels can cause damage to the brain and unconsciousness.
When the carbon monoxide exhale by various people was measured it showed that a normal non-smoker's level was three parts CO per million parts of air (ppm) which means less than 1 per cent of blood his blood was not working properly, a light smoker to had CO levels of 10-20 ppm (2-4 per cent of blood not working properly), and a heavy smoker 30-40 ppm (5-7 per cent).
Shisha smokers had 40-70 ppm of CO in their breath, which affected 8-12 per cent of their blood.
The BBC quoted Dr. Hilary Wareing, director of the Tobacco Control Collaborating Centre, as saying: "Our mouths opened at the level of harm - none of the tests we did showed anything other than shisha is hazardous to health."
Paul Hooper, regional manager at the Department of Health, said that the study showed that the dangers of shisha smoking were a "major issue", though many people believe it "as not even smoking".
ShishaBars have become quite popular across the UK especially in the cities of London, Manchester and Birmingham and the misconceptions generated here encouraged the scientists to carry out the research on the effects of Shisha smoking.
Dr. Wareing said: "We found one session of smoking shisha - that's 10 milligrams (of fruit tobacco) for 30 minutes - gave carbon monoxide levels that were at the lowest four and five times higher than having a cigarette...But at the worst, shisha was 400 to 450 times more dangerous than having a cigarette."
She added shisha was still awaiting more research to find out its adverse effects. Paul Hooper said the department was trying "how best to get the message - that it is dangerous - across to the consumer".
"But how do you label the tobacco and the shisha pipe? It's not as simple as labelling a packet of cigarettes," he added.