Re: Herbal Shishas
I smoke both Saalaam and Hydro almost exclusively. They both contain bagasse. No pine needles. The bagasse does look something like pine needles in shape but not in color and certainly not in taste. That would be an unmistakeable taste.
No tar is added to herbal shishas (or regular shisha, as far as I know) but tar is a byproduct. While shisha doesn't get properly burned, there's no telling just how hot shisha has to get before tar is produced. The scientific studies say tar is produced from it, but they don't mention at what temperature they burned/baked the shisha. I can say that there's always SOME burned shisha in my bowl when I'm done.
As to the taste of the herbal, I love it. Not all of it, but several of the flavors are quite nice and very satisfying. I've smoke it with other tobacco shisha lovers who didn't complain a bit about the taste.
It produces nice, thick clouds and is full of flavor, depending on the flavor that is. I've smoked a couple of flavors that didn't have much taste to me at all.
I do not wish to become addicted to nicotine again. I don't get a "hangover" from herbal shisha but I definitely get one from tobacco shisha. Tobacco shisha is harsher on my throat as well.
Is one healthier than the other? Probably not. It's never healthy to sit around purposefully inhaling smoke. But my personal choice is to stick with the herbal blends to avoid addiction and the hangover. Besides, I LIKE what I'm smoking and have no desire to fix what ain't broke.