European traders spread smoking throughout the world.
Although the presence and practices involved in smoking are entrenched on every continent, the practice didn't crop up spontaneously throughout the world. Once the Europeans were hooked, they took it with them everywhere.
The spread of smoking went along with the spread of European seafaring trade in the early 18th century. French and Portuguese traders took it to Africa. An English captain introduced it to Japan. The Chinese got it from Spanish and Portuguese traders.
Time and again, not long after it reached a new place, smoking would become a hallmark of the culture.
The water pipe, known as the hookah, came into fashion under the Moguls of India. It cooled the smoke and made it pleasant in a hot climate. In Africa, smoking was incorporated into weddings and religious rites. In Japan, it became associated in art with the floating world of the courtesans.
Once introduced, it became a universal human habit, crossing all geographic, cultural and social lines.