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Hookahs

A hookah, also known as a waterpipe, narghile, arghila, or qalyān, is a single- or multi-stemmed instrument for vaporizing and smoking flavored tobacco called shisha in which the vapor or smoke is passed through a water basin (often glass-based) before inhalation.

Depending on the placement of the coal above the shisha, a hookah can be used to produce smoke by burning the shisha or used to create water vapor by melting it at a lower temperature. When a waterpipe is used to produce smoke (as is common in the Arab States of the Persian Gulf), it is usually referred to as a hookah, which means "jar" in Arabic. When the same device is used to vaporize shisha (as is common in India and the Levant), it is usually referred to as a nargile, which means "gourd" in Sanskrit. The vapor from a nargile looks similar enough to the smoke from a hookah as to cause both users and medical professionals to often confuse the two.

The origin of the waterpipe is around the area which includes India and Persia, or at a transition point between the two. The word hookah is a derivative of "huqqa", which is what the Arabs called it. According to author Cyril Elgood , who does not mention his source, it was Abul-Fath Gilani , a Persian physician at the Indian court of the Mughal emperor Akbar, who "first passed the smoke of tobacco through a small bowl of water to purify and cool the smoke and thus invented the hubble-bubble or hookah." Nevertheless, a quatrain of Ahli Shirazi refers to the use of the ḡalyān in Safavid Iran. Smoking the hookah has gained popularity outside of its native region, in India, Pakistan and the Middle East, and is gaining popularity in North America, South America, Europe, Australia, Southeast Asia, Tanzania and South Africa.
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