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Does Shisha Expire?

We’ve all been there before. You are having friends over to enjoy some hookah at your place and you make it through your first bowl.

Everyone is enjoying themselves, maybe chatting, or watching a movie, or playing video games. Then somebody has a brilliant idea, to prep another bowl of shisha for everybody and keep that sweet nicotine buzz going.

So off you go to get your shisha, and all your shisha pouches and tins are empty, and all you’ve got are some old jars at the back of the shelf or drawer/ This leads to a lot of questions: How old is this shisha? Is it any good? Will it still taste decent?

Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us. But we’ve got you covered to see if you can still use your old shisha with no ill effects.

Here is an in-depth look answering the question: does shisha expire?

What Is Shisha?

To get into the nitty-gritty of how shisha expires, we need to understand what shisha is in the first place.

Shisha is the smokeable mixture that you smoke from a hookah. Shisha is a mixture of chopped tobacco leaves, glycerine, molasses or honey, and flavorings, which can include fruit pieces, fruit juices, spices, herbs, and other natural and artificial flavorings.

There is also tobacco-free shisha available made with chopped tea leaves instead, though this isn’t anywhere near as popular as regular shisha.

Nevertheless, your shisha is a sticky, flavorful smokeable that is made specifically for hookah smoking.

What Part of Shisha Goes Bad?

Now to get a real understanding of whether or not shisha really expires, and knowing how it expires is to know what ingredients of shisha expire.

Tobacco, itself, expires, which we will discuss later. But in addition to this, the other ingredients of shisha also carry an expiration date. These include the glycerin, molasses or honey, and flavoring agents used in your favorite tub of shisha.

All of these elements play a role in how long your shisha will last, and it is important to understand how each of them impacts the freshness of your shisha.

How Long Does Tobacco Last Before Expiring?

The first and perhaps most crucial piece of the puzzle is how long your tobacco will last without going stale. Regular tobacco, i.e. the kind used in cigarettes, does not come with an expiration date, although they do go stale.

Cigarette tobacco exposed to the air will last a few days at most before going stale. Sealed (or even covered with that foil that comes in a cigarette pack), they can last longer, but you would still want to smoke them before a few weeks have passed.

While this may be true for cigarettes and loose tobacco exposed to the air, that is not exactly the situation of shisha, which is both wet and sealed.

How Long Does Shisha Last Before Going Bad?

So if tobacco lasts longer when it is in shisha form, then how long does it last? Because of the glycerine and molasses covering the tobacco in a shisha mixture, shisha is better preserved than dry tobacco.

Shisha tobacco will last for at least two years unopened and at least six months after opening, assuming that you are sealing the package airtight and keeping it in a cool place away from direct sunlight. This gives you much more wiggle room when smoking older shisha.

That being said, six months or two years isn’t as long as you think for a jar at the back of your shisha drawer. Make sure that you are taking inventory every so often to see what you have to get through.

How Can I Tell If My Shisha Has Gone Bad?

So we know that your shisha can indeed go bad, or at least go stale over time, but how can you tell if your shisha is still in good condition to smoke, or if you need to throw it away and put your order in for new shisha ASAP?

The first and perhaps biggest thing that you will notice with stale shisha is that it is no longer wet and sticky. If your shisha has gone dry, that is a pretty clear sign that your shisha has turned the corner on freshness.

Another thing to keep an eye out for is strange colors, fuzzy textured mold growing in your shisha, or a foul smell in your shisha container. Tobacco leaves are plants, so they can and do grow mold if left in conditions suitable for growth.

If your shisha tobacco is dryer than you would expect, smells weird, or looks different than it normally does, you have a bad tub of shisha on your hands.

Is It Bad To Smoke Stale Shisha?

Sometimes you are just in a pinch, don’t have any fresh shisha available, and really want a bowl of hookah without having to go to the hookah bar downtown. In times like these, you may wonder what would be so bad about smoking some shisha that is past its prime?

Well, it is not good to smoke stale shisha. It will smoke harsher, hotter, and less pleasant than fresh shisha, and you will definitely feel it. But beyond that, if there is mold in your shisha, you risk some worse health effects.

If you are pretty healthy, you may simply have bad coughing, nausea, and chest pain after inhaling mold particles from bad shisha. But if you have a compromised immune system or underlying lung health issues, you could end up with a serious infection.

It is simply not worth the potential risk, or the unpleasant sensations and flavors of stale shisha. Hookah is supposed to taste and feel good, and bad shisha does neither of those things.

How Can I Make Shisha Last Longer?

The good news is we aren’t going to leave you hanging — there are a few things you can do to increase the shelf-life of your shisha and make it last as long as possible.

The key to keeping your shisha in good condition for as long as possible is to seal it tightly in an airtight jar or bag for storage, and to keep it in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. Exposure to air and light are the two factors that accelerate the aging process for shisha.

You should keep your shisha in airtight jars or bags, and preferably in a cupboard or drawer somewhere cool to keep them out of the light. If you do this, you can rest assured that your shisha will last for six months or even more before drying out.

Does Shisha Expire: The Takeaways

Sometimes, you are stuck in a situation without fresh shisha to smoke. And it is at times like these that you probably start to wonder if and how soon shisha expires.

Shisha doesn’t “expire,” per se, but it does go stale and can eventually go bad if left that long. Stale or molded shisha can cause negative side effects from coughing, nausea, and discomfort to serious lung infections.

Be sure that if your shisha is particularly dry, smelly, or moldy, that you simply throw it away and open some fresh shisha. It is never worth risking the negative effects of stale shisha.

If you need some more shisha for your stockpile, don’t worry, MOB Hookah is the perfect place to stock up. We carry only the finest shisha brands in the world, delivering you great flavor and great quality every single time.

Not to mention our collection of hookah pipes, hoses, bowls, vases, and accessories to completely outfit your hookah arsenal. And remember to keep coming back to our blog for any hookah questions you may have!


How to store tobacco to keep it fresh | Bull Brand Blog

Hookah vs Shisha: What are The Differences? | Rakija Lounge

A Guide to Keeping Your Hookah Tobacco as Good as New | Scrap Digest

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