Smoking water pipe, or hookah, or argella have been around for many centuries popular among the Middle East, , Africa, Turkey, Persia, the Indian subcontinent, the Balkans. It is a leisure pastime done usually in company or gathering. It is a form of relaxation and acts as a social lubricant.
One of the things that remind me of Syria was smoking argella useful on occasions to cover my practically zero-Arabic tongue.
Hookah's health ramifications are less, more or about the same as smoking cigarettes?
Hastings (?), Governor General of India, smoking the hookah, with attendants.
'The Hindu Rajah of Ooncar Mandatta, on the Nerbudda - from a drawing by Mr. W. Carpenter, Jun'
Sortiri, Chief Albanian Dragoman to Mr. Calquhoun: by Sir David Wilkie (1785-1841). In the Eastern water pipe, the tobacco smoke is drawn up through the cooling water.