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History of Hookah

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The “hookah” is thought to have originated in India in the 1500’s. It was a rather primitive version of what is now the modern hookah. The base was made out of a coconut shell and, instead of a hose normally used today in hookahs they had a long tube that was connected to the hookah. The hookah slowly spread to Iran and the rest of the Arab world. In the 17th century it became widely popular in Turkey.

The hookah stayed popular till the twentieth century until the invention of cigarettes. During its popularity in Turkey, the hookah’s design changed to how we see it today. To light the hookah, oak charcoals were used, instead of coconut charcoals used today. Smokers would add berries to enjoy seeing them dance in the water. Others would add fruit juice and rose oil to the water to add flavour to the smoke.

During the early 20th century, the hookah also became popular with ladies. It became a fashion statement to be photographed with a hookah. Around this time, hookahs became popular at parties and also began to be featured in literature, most popularly in Sherlock Holmes and Alice in Wonderland.


The hookah somewhat lost popularity in the 1980’s but regained lost ground in the late 1990’s. The hookah has now become an integral part of socializing among young adults worldwide. Whether it is smoked alone, in a group or at a party; hookahs are enjoyed by people across income, age and cultural groups.