The most highly-dressed and splendid hookah was prepared for me. I tried it, but did not like it. As after several trials I still found it disagreeable, I with much gravity requested to know whether it was indispensably necessary that I should become a smoker, which was answered with equal gravity, “Undoubtedly it is, for you might as well be out of the world as out of the fashion. Here everybody uses a hookah, and it is impossible to get on without …I have frequently heard men declare they would much rather be deprived of their dinner than their hookah.
Following the European introduction of tobacco to Persia and India, Hakim Abu’l-Fath Gilani, who came from Gilan, a province in the north of Persia, migrated to Hamarastan. He later became a physician in the Mughal court and raised health concerns after smoking tobacco became popular among Indian noblemen. He subsequently envisaged a system that allowed smoke to be passed through water in order to be ‘purified’. Gilani introduced the ḡalyān after Asad Beg, the ambassador of Bijapur, encouraged Akbar I to take up smoking. Following popularity among noblemen, this new device for smoking soon became a status symbol for the Indian aristocracy and gentry.
- In big cities like Karachi and Lahore, cafes and restaurants offered Hookah and charged per hour.
- The hookah has been a traditional smoking instrument in Bangladesh, particularly among the old Bengali zamindar gentry.
- In the Arab world and the Middle East, people smoke waterpipes as part of their culture and traditions.
- Nargile became part of Turkish culture from the 17th century.
- In South Africa, hookah, colloquially known as a hubbly bubbly or an okka pipe.
The concept of hookah is thought to have originated In India, by Irfan Shaikh, a physician to Mughal emperor Akbar once the province of the wealthy, it was tremendously popular especially during Mughal rule. The hookah has since become less popular; however, it is once again garnering the attention of the masses, and cafés and restaurants that offer it as a consumable are popular. The use of hookahs from ancient times in India was not only a custom, but a matter of prestige. Rich and landed classes would smoke hookahs.Tobacco is smoked in hookahs in many villages as per traditional customs. Smoking tobacco-molasses is now becoming popular among the youth in India. There are several chain clubs, bars and coffee shops in India offering a wider variety of mu‘assels, including non-tobacco versions. Hookah was recently banned in Bangalore. However, it can be bought or rented for personal usage or organized parties.
In South Africa, hookah, colloquially known as a hubbly bubbly or an okka pipe, is popular among the Cape Malay and Indian populations, wherein it is smoked as a social pastime.[not in citation given] However, hookah is seeing increasing popularity with South Africans, especially the youth. Bars that additionally provide hookahs are becoming more prominent, although smoking is normally done at home or in public spaces such as beaches and picnic sites.
Hookah smoke contains multiple toxic chemicals. Water does not filter out many of these chemicals. Hookah smoke contains toxic chemicals that come from the burning of the charcoal, tobacco, and flavorings. Hookah smokers inhale many chemicals that can cause cancer, heart disease, lung disease, and other health problems. These chemicals include tobacco-specific nitrosamines, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, volatile aldehydes, benzene, nitric oxide, heavy metals (arsenic, chromium, lead), and carbon monoxide (CO). Hookah smoking increases the amount of carbon monoxide in a person’s body to eight times their normal level. Compared to smoking one cigarette, a single hookah session exposes users to more carbon monoxide and PAHs, similar levels of nicotine, and lower levels of tobacco-specific nitrosamines. Because of inhaling these chemicals, hookah smokers are at increased risk of many of the same health problems as cigarette smokers.
The jar at the bottom of the hookah is filled with water sufficient to submerge a few centimeters of the body tube, which is sealed tightly to it. Deeper water will only increase the inhalation force needed to use it. Tobacco or tobacco-free molasses are placed inside the bowl at the top of the hookah. Often the bowl is covered with perforated tin foil or a metal screen and coal placed on top. The foil or screen separates the coal and the tobacco, which minimizes inhalation of coal ash with the smoke and reduces the temperature the tobacco is exposed to, in order to prevent burning the tobacco directly. When one inhales through the hose, air is pulled through the charcoal and into the bowl holding the tobacco. The hot air, heated by the charcoal vaporizes the tobacco without burning it. The vapor is passed down through the body tube that extends into the water in the jar. It bubbles up through the water, losing heat, and fills the top part of the jar, to which the hose is attached. When a smoker inhales from the hose, smoke passes into the lungs, and the change in pressure in the jar pulls more air through the charcoal, continuing the process.
If the hookah has been lit and smoked but has not been inhaled for an extended period, the smoke inside the water jar may be regarded as “stale” and undesirable. Stale smoke may be exhausted through the purge valve, if present. This one-way valve is opened by the positive pressure created from gently blowing into the hose. It will not function on a multiple-hose hookah unless all other hoses are plugged. Sometimes one-way valves are put in the hose sockets to avoid the need to manually plug hoses.