Meet the Vape Pen: An Alternative to Smoking

It’s hard to believe that just a few decades ago, doctors used to recommend that people smoke to calm their nerves! Now, we know that smoking causes a range of health problems from lung cancer to lung disease, and heart disease. The now undeniable health risks of smoking have led many people to look for alternatives to conventional tobacco and legal marijuana use, and for these individuals, a vaporizer pen or vape pen can be the ideal alternative.

What Happens When You Smoke: Combustion

To understand what a vape pen is, you first need to know a bit about what smoking actually is. When you light a tobacco or marijuana cigarette, you ignite the material, raising it to a temperature high enough to cause it to combust or burn. Combustion gives off smoke, which is what gives cigarettes their strong smell and taste. Smoke is made up primarily of toxins and impurities, and contains only small amounts of the active chemicals found inside whatever it is that you’re smoking. In the case of legal marijuana, only 12 percent of smoke that is inhaled actually consists of active cannabinoids. The remaining 88 percent of the content contains more than 110 impurities.

Vaporizer Pens: An Alternative to Smoking

Vape pens were first developed during the 1960s, but never caught on, as people weren’t yet interested in finding other ways to inhale nicotine and marijuana. It wasn’t until 2003, when vaporizer pens were reintroduced by a Chinese pharmacist that interest grew in vape pens. Today, there are hundreds of types of vape pens available on the market, including herbal vape pen options for tobacco and dry herbs, wax vape pen options for waxy concentrates, and oil vape pen options for liquid nicotine and essential oils.

A vape pen is a small pen-shaped object that consists of a mouthpiece, a heating chamber and a battery. The heating chamber is loaded with material, the type of which varies depending on whether you’re using a dry herb vape pen, a wax pen vaporizer, or an oil pen. The battery supplies power to the heating chamber, causing it to heat up. Then, the material in the chamber is heated either by:

- Conduction. In a conduction herbal, oil, or wax vaporizer pen, the heating element is in direct contact with the material, so it transfers heat right to it. The material heats up very quickly as a result.

- Convection. In a convection herbal, wax, or oil vaporizer pen, the heating element is separate from the material. The material grows hot when air warmed by the heating element circulates through it. The process takes longer, but it is more efficient.

Both conduction and convection cause materials to give off vapor, which is much purer than smoke, regardless of what’s being vaped. For example, marijuana vapor is 95 percent cannabinoids, and only 5 percent impurities. When you compare smoke produced by combustion to vapor produced by a vape pen through either convection or conduction, it’s easy to see why so many people are now ditching smoking and becoming part of the vaping lifestyle.

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