NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Throw away that stinky old pipe or bong. Today's discerning pot smoker uses a vaporizer to smoke. Vaporizers are bigger than electronic cigarettes because of the chamber that consumers need to deposit their loose leafy product. Most vaporizers look like a high tech cigar.
The units use high heat on loose tobacco or herbs creating a vapor instead of smoke. The heat releases the desired chemicals, like cannabinoids in marijuana, but isn't hot enough to burn the product and cause it to catch on fire resulting in smoke and ash.
Many marijuana smokers prefer this method as they get more of the THC they want without damaging their throats and lungs. This can be pretty important if you are spending lots of money for premium pot. Seibo Shen, CEO of VapeXhale said smoking out of pipes is "the equivalent of drinking fine wine in a red plastic cup." His product doesn't come cheap. It retails for $500, but he has a backlog of orders.
Shen's company has a narrow focus on just this product, whereas other vaporizer makers sell it as a part of their e-cigarette line.
Shen says e-cigarettes are made by two different companies in China and the only difference between all the products available is the marketing and branding. His product is manufactured and sourced in the United States with his own unique design that cools the vapor with a water component. He was inspired by the water pipes or bongs of his youth. However, another company out of California, Thermo-Essence Technologies claims it has the best of the best USA-made vaporizers. American pride lives on in vaping entrepreneurship.
VapeXhale's target customer is in his late 20s to early 30s and has no kids and can afford an expensive smoking device. The beauty of course is that without smoke, there is no tell-tale smell of pot smoke.
Vapor Corp. sells a liquid vaporizer that uses a nicotine solution and retails between $19.95 and $79.95, alongside a dry herb vaporizer for $129.95. Kevin Frija, CEO of Vapor Corp. the leading electronic cigarette company acknowledges that his vaporizer product, called VaporX, is popular with potheads, but insisted that "99% of the customers use it for the nicotine solution."
It's so popular that Frija has plans for expansion of the line. "We have a store in store authorized dealer concept for our Vaporizer VaporX brand," he said.
It sounds like it won't be long before smokers will say let's get vaped instead of baked as smoking goes high tech.
-- Written by Debra Borchardt in New York
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