Hookahs Coming Of Age in America

A hookah is an elaborate and extravagant water pipe. At its barest, a hookah consists of a base, stem, hose and clay bowl. A hookah is used to smoke Shisha: flavored tobacco mixed with molasses.

After securing the stem into the base as well as the hose and clay bowl into place, shisha is packed into the clay bowl with a lit coal atop it, the hose is then used to pull and taste the flavorful shisha.The water pipe (hookah) idea originated in India. But not fully developed, then it was only made of coconut shells. When the concept of hookah was fully developed it branched off to Iran, where it then spread fast throughout the entire Arabian region.

Finally reaching Turkey, the hookah took off like a wild fire. There, the Nargila (as they call it) became one of the oldest and deeply rooted traditions in Turkey, hitting its highest point of popularity during the time of Murat II.It was found fashionable for upper class women of the 19th and early 20th century to smoke hookah, many even had themselves photographed with it. Hookah was used as a social activity, much like alcohol or food in other cultures; hookah was their social environment creator and enhancer. With time, however, Hookah became less popular as cigarettes and cigars became more accommodating.Now as the evils of cigarettes are more apparent, the hookah is becoming more and more popular due to its complete lack of tar, water filtration and several other suspected health advantages over cigarettes.

Today hookah is smoked in groups usually no less than 2 at hookah bars, lounges, at home, or even on the beach. The recent popularity has caught on like a wild fire to the college community. Students find the social environmental advantages of hookah to be more attractive than alcohol or cigarettes previously favored advantages, with fewer disadvantages e.g.

hangover, harsh cigarette smoke.With the increase in demand, hookahs which aside for the 70's had never infiltrated the American culture now had to be supplied not only to immigrants from Middle Eastern countries but to Americans as well. Over 300 hookah bars have opened up in the past 5 years in the United States.


Mark writes for Hookah Buzz. If you are in the market for hookahs or flavored tobacco, please visit

By: Mark Nader

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