I've been the "guy who does shisha" in the village for a couple of years now. Ever since Mohammed sent me a pipe to try out, and I've shared a smoke with a few of them. Most of the people who turn up at the back of my office for a look are shocked to find that it just contains plain tobacco and isn't full of 'dodgy' ingredients.
This is the perception problem hookah pipes and shisha have. As I'm putting the pipe and hose together and they wonder at the beautiful water bowl, they can't help but think that they're only used for nefarious means. These aren't bongs, they're hookah pipes and all that comes through that hose is flavour and smoke, and it's great.
But a friend of mine was extremely sceptical. He'd heard of them and he was already a smoker (by the way, I'm not a cigarette smoker, never have been, I just use the herbal stuff and it's fantastic), but he's never used a hookah pipe. I told him to get an e-cigarette. There are e-shisha pens, but really, I guess the experience is much the same. However, to someone who's only ever smoked Benson & Hedges, actually getting a flavour might be quite a shock. Best to start easy!
I've had the same issue when trying to convince friends to move from lager to ale. It's tough, but eventually they understand what the fuss was about.
Well, he tried the e-cigarette and he kinda liked it, although it was a bit sweet for him. So, I set him up with my pipe. All cleaned (I've started using disposable pipes) and ready with a tobacco based shisha.
He loved it!
I'm going to wait a bit until he's used to that before moving him on to the herbal shisha, which I prefer, but is probably a bit too weak for him, or too sweet.
I think shisha is for anyone. You don't have to be a smoker, you don't have to be a non-smoker, you just have to be able to have a lot of fun, relax and enjoy it!