Hookah pipes, also sometimes referred to as water pipes, are glass based instruments which are used for smoking tobacco mixes. They are either multi or single stemmed and feature a large base which is filled partially with clean water. The devices are fairly popular in the United States, Middle East, Australia, and Great Britain and their usage can be traced back to the fifteen hundreds. And though smoking hookah is historically considered a long standing tradition, they are growing increasingly popular among college and grad school students.
The device can be traced back hundreds of years to North Western India and was reportedly invented by a professional Iranian physician there. After the European explorers introduced tobacco to the country the physician, Abu’l-Fath Gilani envisioned an elaborate device which would allow Indian Noblemen to smoke their tobacco through water so that they could be sure it was purified. He designed the glass blown contraption and it soon became extremely popular among gentry and aristocrats, who considered it a major status symbol.
Throughout the Arab world, smoking with hookahs is a major part of the tradition and culture. Social smoking is a popular hobby in which people, whether they’re attending a party or other social gathering, share the prepared tobacco together via one of the hookah’s hoses until it all runs out. If a single stemmed device is used the participants use personal mouthpieces when it is their turn to prevent the inevitable sharing of germs.
In America hookahs became popular throughout the sixties and seventies as a unique way to enjoy flavored tobacco. Their popularity has remained steady there mostly due to the country’s implementation of strict anti smoking laws in public places.
Hookah bars, businesses in which customers get together to partake, are exempt from these laws thanks to certain permits that they are eligible for. The cafes are especially popular on and near college campuses and are famous for their large menus of tobacco flavors and casual atmospheres.
The devices consist of a number of essential components such as hoses, bowls, wind screens, and purge valves. The bowls, also called heads, are typically made out of ceramic or clay and sit atop the hookahs. They are responsible for holding the tobacco during the session and typically feature a small aluminum wind screen that keeps the tobacco from falling out and free from debris.
The hoses are slender and flexible pieces that attach to the device’s base. They allow the utilizer to draw out the smoke from a distance, roughly two to three feet, and ensure that the hot smoke is cooled down enough before it reaches their lips. The base or water jar of the hookah is the largest and most recognizable part of the device. It holds the necessary water, which the smoke is passed through before reaching the hoses.
Many, especially newer ones, are also equipped with special purge valves that sits atop the water jar and is used to efficiently purge stale air from the compartment.