Shisha Background Information
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Background Information

History of the waterpipe (also called as Shisha or Nargile)

The principles of the shisha is originated from India. It was consisted of a bamboo stick fitted into a coconut there.
Starting from the 16. century shisha arrived to Ottomans. Shisha developed a community culture around itself which exists even today. The popularity of the Shisha spread likewise in Iran and was passed from there into far parts of the Arab world. The shisha became in many Arab countries a firm component of the culture; common smoking is regarded as symbol of the hospitableness till today. In Turkey, the thisha was spread in its current today's manifestation. From there, it was exported into the western world, where in 20. Century it is accepted as an alternative form of the tobacco smoking. Particularly today, in Europe the shisha enjoys increasing popularity.  There are cafes and bars, which one can order waterpipes, in many cities. Above all, the young people enjoy shisha also in parks or public leisure places.

The Shisha Tobacco

The waterpipe tobacco is a special damp tobacco,which consists of a mix of Tobacco, molassse and glycerin. It is clearly soggier than pipe or cigarette tobaccos. Above all, in European, flavored tobacco is smoked, which is available in many different aromas. Th emost familiar one is double apple, there are also other apple kinds as well as cherry, mint, orange, lemon, mango, vanilla, banana, cappuccino, caramel, liquorice, coconut, multifruit, applel, rosa, grape, strawberry, peach, melon and cola. In Arab countries, in Iran and in Azerbaijan, the majority smokes tobaccos without any aroma. Partly, the tobacco is self-aromatized by adding orient tobaco and honey. Rarely, the addition of rosa water to the bowl or special woods to the charcoal. Due to its consistency, waterpipe tobacco cannot be compared with usual tobacco; because of its high portion of dump (app. 20 to 40 percent) it has sticky and paste-like consistency. Due to its humidity portion, the waterpipe tobacco had a conflict with the present German Tobacco Regulation of 1977, which states that tobacco to smoke can only include five percent dump-keeping material at maximum. The customs and tariff in 2004 started to prevent the import of tobacco which damages this guideline, since then there is a special tobacco for German market.
The smokers usually moistened the tobacco theirselves, with Glycerin from the pharmacy or with particularly in the shop or from internet by available molasses. However it does not bring usually the same quality as the tobacco, which is already produced by damp retaining means .

The Shisha Coal

The waterpipe charcoal (also called as fachma) is usually the charcoal without any petroleum additives. There exist two kinds of it: The charcoal tablets that are instant lightning including a liitle amount of black powder. This kind of the charcoals can be easily lightened by a simple lighter and lasts approximately for 30 to 90 minutes. These coal tablets usually have a diameter of 33 or 40 millimeters.

As an alternative, natural coal can be also used. It commonly consists of pressed coconut pairings (Cococha) with a very high heat value. Other types of the natural coal can be also made of orange or olive tree woods. These kinds of coal are usually sulfur-free and has a bar form. Since the cocos coal does not contain black powder, it is not easy to lighten it by a simple lighter; they usually require coal furnace. Cocos coals lasts longer and  enables to adjust the developing heat better.

The Installation of the Shisha

A Shisha corresponds to a chemical water bottle in its structure. It consists at least four parts: a bowl, a smoke tube, a pot and a hose. The bowl is alse called as vase or base. It is generally decorated and can be masde of glass, metal or acrylic. On to the bowl, the smoke tube is put or screwed.  It is generally made of metal, which was coated with chrome or brass and can also be decorated. Some of the smoke tubes are made of wood, which may appear as aesthetic, but after a while it absorbs the humidity and may start to smell. Then the pot or the tobacco bowl put on the smoke tube. It acts thereby as a small container out of clay/tone or metal, which has holes at its lower surface. On the smoke tube, there is at least one smoke connection for a hose.There are also Shishas available with multi smoke connections. Modern shishas have also one simple pressure valve on their smoke tubes. The hose of a shisha is made of leather, natural rubber or plastic. There are many different types such as: detachable smoke tubes, deposit plate, other materials and more. The size of the compounded shisha varies. In Shisha-Cafés, usually the 60-90 cm. waterpipes are offered.  Mini-Shishas with the sizes up to 40 cm. are only suitable conditionally for the regular tobacco consumption; often the smoke is received stronger.

The Functionality of the Shisha

To smoke a shisha, the bowl must be filled with water and the attachment (the smoke tube) must be put on bowl's open end. The pipe must be circa two to three cm. in the water and must be tightly attached to the bowl. Then, the 2/3 to 3/4 of the tobacco bowl on top is filled with waterpipe tobacco (see above: waterpipe tobacco) and cover this with several times folded, punched aluminum foil, whereby it is to be noted that the aluminum foil does not affect the tobacco. Usually, the shisha is supplied including a metal filter, which is offered as an alternative to aluminum foil.
Contrary to the aluminum foil the metal filter is suitable even for longer smoking with several tobacco bowls, since it does not glow like the aluminum foil.
In addition, the risk of too hot or glowed tobacco is smaller, which makes the smoke less tasty. On to the aluminum foil, comes a piece of lightened waterpipe charcoal. The charcoal can also be put directly on to the tobacco if the tobacco is without any flavor. The humidity contained by the waterpipe tobacco and the the flavour materials is heated up by the glowing coal and evaporate. Smoking from the mouthpiece creates a pressure  in the bottle, which becomes bubbling due to the balance of the smoke in the pipe. Thus the waterpipe tobacco is not directly burned but rather steamed. Due to the long journey of the smoke through the metal pipe, the water and the hose; the aromatized smoke is cool and more pleasant than tobacco smoke by a cigarette or a pipe. This effect can be amplified by putting some ice into the water in the bowl or placing the bowl into a bucket with ice cubes. Some shishas have also containers which enables a direct supply of ice to the smoke tube.
The bowl can also be filled with other liquids such as whiskey or red wine. In cases of filling with alcoholic liquids, the alcohol reaches the lung and the blood stream as the smoke is inhaled. 
Note that, the tobacco bowl must be filled with tobacco loosely because the too strongly filled tobacco bowls can only be smoked hardly.
If the tobacco burns through, it means that only a few layers of aluminum foil were used.
In order to have a tasty smoke, the tobacco should not affect the aluminum foil.
To lighten the natural coal, you can use a camping stove or a little burner. The natural coal lasts about 90 minutes.

Smoking shisha in the Orient

Traditionally, smoking shisha or waterpipe is celebrated, thus it appears as a special occasion. Shisha is consumed on special festive causes or days when many friends get together. In order to increase the pleasure, the meals or beverages are also received during the shisha enjoy. In oriental countries the shisha is often enjoyed by drinking tea,more importantly, the tea neutralise the taste in the mouth, so that it is possible to taste the aroma of the shisha at each turn as if the first. Also, to satisfy the hunger feeling, sometimes the cookies, finger foods, Turkish sweets or a meal is consumed. Furthermore, the shisha is usually smoked in comfortable rooms decorated with cushions or carpets as well as couches or mattresses are widely chosen to relax or even to sleep.

Shisha culture in Europe

The shisha, which is established firmly in the German youth culture, was completely unknown until a few years ago. It is often used for cosy social ambiences ("chilling") in addition to the conservations and chats. Thanks to its transportable structure, it is also gladly brought to parties and picknicks with. An abundance of different tobacco guarantees a lasting alternation and various pleasures.
In big cities, there are also so called Shisha-Bars, which a shisha is offered to the customer besides many drinks and other normal little meals. Also, today it is easy to find many shops which sell waterpipes and accessories - however the quality among them varies significantly.

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