The nargile (NAHR-gee-leh), or Turkish water pipe, has for centuries been an icon of Eastern café culture. By forcing tobacco smoke through water, the nargile partially filters tar and particulates from smoke, in addition to cooling it. Also called a hookah or hubble-bubble, the nargile became popular in Turkey during the 1700s, at the height of the Ottoman Empire, and by the 19th century its pleasures had been discovered by European high society. After World War II, most smokers switched to cigarets. But now the nargile is back--and an increasingly trendy social activity in the coffee-house cultures of Spain, Sweden, Britain, and Asia, as well as the U.S.A..
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