Smoking - whether it be cigarettes, pipes, or hookahs, is not a modern phenomenon. Visitors to the new world discovered the tobacco plant in the 1500s, but indigenous peoples throughout what is now North and Central America were smoking their peace pipes for centuries before that.
Once tobacco was discovered and brought back to Spain and England (by the various explorers of hte new world, it quickly spread in popularity round the world. In the Middle East, the use of a hookah or waterpipe began in Persia, during the Safavid dynasty, (1500s to 1700s).
The traditional waterpipe, which is a large structure consisting of a bowl that holds the tobacco, and the coals used to heat it, a screen on top of the bowl which insures a constant temperature and rate of burning of the coals, a water jar above this through which the heated vapor passes, and hoses extending out from the top, so that several people can smoke from a single bowl at one time.
Such a hookah can be found in the Middle East in a variety of public locations, where men gather to smoke and chat.
This article sponsored by Hookah Town, purveyors of hookah pens and hookah sticks.
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