British Heart Foundation (BHF) Scotland issued the warning about the exotic water pipes as thousands of Scots are expected to stub out their cigarettes on No Smoking Day today.
It said a survey revealed that 84 per cent of respondents in Scotland believed a shisha was the equivalent to smoking ten cigarettes or fewer while “almost everyone” polled was unaware the amount of smoke inhaled in a typical one-hour session could equal that of 100.
The survey also showed that 9 per cent of Scots use the pipes, which are also known as hookahs, or “hubble bubble” pipes.
A freedom of information request submitted by BHF to Glasgow City Council showed that there has been an increase in shisha bars trading in Scotland’s largest city in the past five years.
Glasgow now has seven shisha bars compared to none in 2007.
The charity said shisha smoking is linked to the same kinds of diseases as cigarette smoking, including heart disease, cancer, respiratory disease and problems during pregnancy.
However, only half of adults polled in Scotland (53 per cent) knew they could contain tobacco and one in six (17 per cent) thought there were no health risks from using shisha.
It also claimed shishas could provide a new gateway for people to start smoking and become addicted to tobacco.
Andy Carver, prevention and care adviser at BHF Scotland, said: “Contrary to popular belief, shisha is not safer than smoking cigarettes.
“Don’t be duped by the sweet smell and wholesome sounding fruity flavours: if you use shisha you are a smoker and that means you’re putting your health at risk.”