Many of you are probably familiar with the child story of Alice in Wonderland, either the Disney movie version or the book by Lewis Carroll. In the story, Alice stumbles upon a blue caterpillar that is puffing out multicolored letters of smoke. Come to find out, that caterpillar was smoking tobacco out of a hookah. Hookah, narghile, sheesha or hubbly-bubbly are all common names for the water pipe that is used to smoke flavored tobacco, called shisha. The moist tobacco is heated by a piece of charcoal and the user inhales through a hose that is connected to the bowl that is half filled with water. The smoke travels to the body of the bowl, bubbles through the water, vaporizes and leaves through the hose. A relatively straightforward device for smoking flavored tobacco that has become increasingly popular here in the United States.

The roots of hookah

The history of the hookah can be traced back over 400 years ago to ancient Persia and India. While many countries argue over the origin of the hookah, no one is quite sure where the first one came from. A physician from India named Irfan Shaikh claimed to have invented the idea sometime between the years of 1542-1605, but a Persian poet refers to the use of one sometime between the years of 1514-1576. Despite the conflicting stories, there is no evidence of the existence of the water pipe until the 1560s and the Europeans didn’t introduce tobacco to Persia until the early 1600s. After tobacco had been introduced, a physician in the Mughal court named Hakim Abu’l-Fath Gilani, raised health concerns regarding the smoking of tobacco since it became a popular activity among Indian noblemen. He developed a system in which the tobacco smoke was passed through water before inhalation in order to “purify” it. Thus was the beginning of hookah as a status symbol in India.

Who or what made hookahs popular?

While India and Persia both claim some part of the creation and introduction of the hookah, it has roots and popularity in many Middle Eastern and Asian countries such as Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal. It wasn’t until the 1960s when the hookahs popularity started to take off in the United States. They were used for the consumption of various derivations of tobacco and other smoking products. The difference was that an open flame was used more often instead of a piece of charcoal. Today, it’s hard to drive through any city that doesn’t have a smoke shop that sells water pipes and hookahs and prior to the large number of indoor smoking bans, hookah lounges and cafes were gaining popularity in cities and towns with large Middle Eastern populations.

If you find yourself visiting south Florida or live there permanently and develop the urge to try out a hookah for yourself, be sure to check out Smokey News for all your needs for hookah in Ft. Lauderdale. They are the best smoke and hookah store in all of South Florida.