It's that time again...... FREE SAMPLE

It's that time again! Back by popular demand, we are holding another FREE sample promotion because everybody loves a freebie, right? We're offering one FREE box of 50 grams of Saalaam Herbal Shisha to the first 50 people who email us their name and shipping address. Once the 50 samples are gone, the promotion will end. One sample per person and per address, please. If you participated in the first promotion, you are not eligible for this one. But stay tuned for other FREE giveaways!

**We've already sent out 79 freebies! We'll leave the promotion open until 10:00 PM Pacific Daylight Time Friday, April 3, 2009.**

Khalil Mamoon Hookahs SALE + FREE shipping!

Carleen here shouting to the world that the grading marathon has ended! And in celebration of this wonderful event, I put some Khalil Mamoon Ice hookahs on sale at 20% off with free UPS Ground shipping to a street address in the 48 contiguous states. If you buy one and pay with Paypal, you can also get 5% cash back by signing up for our My Store Rewards program.

The sale ends in two days so if you've been thinking about adding a KM to your collection, here's your chance to get one at a fantastic price.

Caravan's Grand Washable Hookah Hoses

Innovations in a traditional industry don't come easy, especially when those innovations involve a cultural icon that is manufactured in a country with a history of traditions as long as Egypt's.

When customers kept coming to our shop in search of an authentic Egyptian hose that they could wash, being the honestly amazing dude that he is, Ali would always explain that our hoses have a metal coil wire base and that washing them would cause that coil to deteriorate much faster than it would under normal use. So what's a traditionalist like Ali, the amazing Egyptian dude, to do? Innovate, of course!

On his last trip to the family business in Egypt, Ali set our hose makers to work with a new twist on a traditional design. He put them to work making truly washable hoses in the traditional Egyptian style. What they produced is nothing short of amazing. The Caravan Grand Washable Hoses are about 75 inches long, come in a variety of colors, and smoke like a dream!

Who said that the last really great Egyptian innovation was a pyramid?!

Shisha Mixes: Pomegranate Pleasures

Carleen here. I have the most amazingly scented Pomegranate and Mango shower gel, and it got me to thinking about shisha mixes. To balance the tanginess of the pomegranate, I played around with a few different mixes and came up with a couple that I really liked and hope that you will, too. Although I don't typically smoke tobacco in the hookah (I prefer herbal shisha so that I don't cough a lot), this time I used Layalina tobacco. Here's what I came up with:
  • 1 part Pomegranate with 2 parts Mango -- This one turned out to be my favorite. The sweetness of the mango provided a really nice balance to the tanginess of the pomegranate.
  • 1 part Pomegranate, 1 part Coconut, 1 part Pineapple -- I enjoyed the tropical taste of this mix, and the flavors blended together well. The dominant taste in this mix, even though I put them together in equal parts, was coconut.
  • 1 part Pomegranate, 2 parts Eskandarani Apple, 1/2 part Mint -- First, I have to admit that because I prefer the flavor of Saalaam Herbal Shisha's mint to anything I've tasted in the tobacco brands, I used Saalaam's Breeze O'Mint for this mix. This flavor started out sweet from the apple, took on a tang from the pomegranate, and ended with a subtle hint of cool, cool mint. Of all the mixes I made using pomegranate, this is the one that I would most likely smoke regularly.

Anybody else like pomegranate and have a good mix to share with me?

Tobacco Taxes on the Rise

The taxman cometh, and he wants you to pay more for tobacco products this time around. I love my home state, but I must admit that Californians' tendency to tax anything and everything with which we disagree or disapprove is about to drive me over the edge!

Last night, on the way home from class, I had to stop at the local 7-11 for a pack of cigarettes. As I walked into the store, I noticed a neon orange sign on the front door suggesting that smokers stock up before the latest cigarette tax takes effect on April 1. "Crap!" I thought, "Another tobacco tax coming down the pike?" So this morning, I decided to do some investigation to uncover the when, where, and how much of the latest round of tobacco taxes across the country.

In California, AB 89, which passed the Legislature on January 5, 2009, increases the tax on cigarettes only. On April 1, 2009, each pack of cigarettes will go up in price by $1.05. Although I scoured the bill, which you can read here, I didn't find any increase for other tobacco products. The cost of hookah tobacco should not go up as a result of AB 89; the language of the bill is specific to cigarettes. We got somewhat lucky this time around. Other states, though, weren't as fortunate.

  • Arkansas' HB 1204 will increase the tax on non-cigarette tobacco products from 32 precent of the wholesale price to 68 percent. The governer's website has more information on the tax increase and the allocation of the funds collected.
  • Kentucky's HB 144 doubles the current tax on "snuff and other tobacco products," so that means hookah tobacco prices will increase.

Several other states have tobacco legislation in the works, but the process that each state requires for a bill to pass into law has not been completed yet. If you like in Alabama, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, or South Dakota, you need to know that your states' governments are actively pursuing an increase in tobacco taxes. To find out more, check out the 2009 Proposed State Tobacco Tax Increase Legislation website.

Maybe it's time to learn the fine art of tobacco agriculture!

John Stuart Mill and Hookah Bans

"The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it. Each is the proper guardian of his own health, whether bodily, or mental or spiritual. Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest." --John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

If I couldn't laugh about the irony of it, the latest smoking ban would have me crying. Virginia, a state whose economy depends on the manufacture of tobacco products (tobacco manufacturing is still the state's number one industry), has recently passed a sweeping anti-smoking law that will more than likely put several restaurant and bar owners out of business.

According to the Washington Post, this bi-partisan bill was "hatched in closed-door meetings between Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) and House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Safford)." Although the new law doesn't reach quite as far as some of the more virulent anti-smoking groups wanted, it does go far enough to target places where smoking has been an accepted part of business for generations. With all the secondhand smoke hype that the media has subjected us to, I can't help but wonder why anyone who is genuinely worried about secondhand smoke exposure would continue to work in establishments that permit smoking or, more importantly, why anyone who chooses not to work in an area where smoking is allowed is so concerned about those who do.

John Stuart Mill, in his essay, On Liberty, says it best: "The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant." In other words, don't try to stop me from smoking hookah in a shop made specifically for that purpose because you think that the secondhand smoke may cause harm to others. An alternative is available: if you don't want to be subjected to secondhand smoke, avoid places of business that permit smoking. Problem solved. Duh!

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I am pleased to report that all 100 packages of Saalaam Herbal Shisha are now on their way. The U.S. packages were sent via USPS First Class Mail with Delivery Confirmation; the international packages were sent via USPS First Class Mail International.

For anyone who didn't make it quickly enough this time around, check back in a week or two. Ali, the amazing Egyptian dude, has said that we'll probably have another giveaway at that time. I'm still learning how to use Twitter, but I will also tweet an announcement the next time we have a giveaway.

Saalaam FREEBIE Promotion Has Ended

We've collected 100 requests for a free sample of Saalaam Herbal Shisha and are preparing them for shipment.

The promotion has ended. Thanks to everyone who participated. Your packages should arrive in the next couple of days for US participants; international participants can expect their packages within 10-21 days, depending on how quickly customs works in their respective countries.

The Magic of a Good Pimp and a Ping

Carleen here. Ok, so I've been on a grading frenzy all day -- don't want my students ticked off because I've been sitting on their papers too long. And although I had every intention of making a really informative post about why hookahs are not drug paraphernalia, I spent the day with essays instead.

Imagine my surprise when, about an hour ago, I checked one of our business email boxes just to see if there was anything pressing that needed to be taken care of tonight and discovered at least two dozen responses to the Saalaam freebie offer that I posted yesterday!

I guess a little blog pimping is a good thing. . .oh, and my recent discovery of a free pinging service that sends updates to all the blog search engines must be working as well. I wonder how the word got out so fast?

Anyway, before I sign off to finish my rendezvous with the stack of essays that's breathing down my neck, Ali said that he'll up the freebie offer to 100 people instead of just 50. I'll keep you posted when the limit has been reached.