The rave to vape
Vaping has become a trendy, routine practice worldwide. An alternative to traditional smoking, vaping involves the inhalation of vapours produced by e-cigarette-like gadgets called vapourisers – including vape pens, portable and table-top vapourisers. E-cigarettes (Electronic cigarettes) and vapourisers are devices which heat up a liquid or oil till they produce vapours. These vapours are then inhaled by the consumer.
Despite its modern vibe, vaping dates back to ancient Egypt, where it is recorded that hot stones were used to vape herbs for religious and medicinal purposes. Modern vaping, however, can be traced to a Chinese Pharmacist named Hon Lik, who invented the first e-cigarette. Dragonite International – formerly Ruyan Group – helped introduce his invention to the world starting with Europe.
Vaping then became a popular practice after e-cigarettes were introduced to the U.S.A in 2007. Today, vapourisers are used by both nicotine and marijuana consumers.
Is vaping as good as it seems?
Over the years, there have been many arguments concerning the safety and consequences of vaping. While it’s maintained by some that vaping is beneficial to the health, some argue that the dangers of vaping are steeper in comparison to traditional smoking.
Here’s the good stuff
Vaping is known to have these advantages:
- Safer than traditional smoking
Vaping is notably safer than traditional smoking. Its safety can be attributed to the fact that while traditional smoking involves the burning of marijuana – or tobacco leaves – vaping does not, eliminating harmful substances created by combustion.
- Odour control
Unlike other methods of smoking, vaping doesn’t leave that unpleasant smell. Immediately the vapour is exhaled by the consumer, the smell dissipates, leaving no traces whatsoever.
- Fun flavours
Vapes use cannabis oils in cartridges — referred to by some as e-liquids — which come in a myriad of flavours (there are also dry vapes that use cannabis flowers). Cannabis vape cartridge flavours are derived from the resin and bud of the plant and based on the strain used.
- Enhanced effects
Unlike with traditional smoking, the effects of vaping cannabis are almost immediate. The vapours go directly into your bloodstream through your lungs, producing almost immediate effects on exhalation. Vapourisers pack a real punch. Vaping is perfect for individuals who want a neat and quick hit.
Vaping is a straightforward process. It requires very little technique, if any at all, compared to other methods of smoking, such as blunts or joints.
Here’s the badVaping is known to have these disadvantages:
- Cleaning and maintenance
Cleaning the cartridge where the cannabis oil goes in often proves a task to many vapers worldwide. Unlike traditional smoking which would only require throwing ashes out, vapourisers would require regular cleaning and maintenance.
The initial cost of acquiring a vapouriser is often on the high side. Whether it’s a table top or portable vapouriser, flower or oil vape pen, these devices can easily set you back hundreds of dollars. While most consider this an ‘investment’, some simply find it to be too expensive.
Vapers work using batteries which could either be rechargeable or non-rechargeable. While most vapourisers are rechargeable, some have to have their batteries replaced when output is maxed. These batteries are not regular type A batteries, and could be inconvenient to find when a change is needed.
Vapourisers with rechargeable batteries need to be charged before they can be used. Low batteries create a hurdle to the smoking experience.
The cost of vaping
Cost of a vape depends on the kind of device being purchased. These devices include:
- Table-top Vapourisers
These devices function when plugged to a power source. They are usually not portable due to their size. They are ideal for home use in sick and immobile patients. Table-top vapourisers typically range in price from $290 to $1,200, depending on their brand, size and output capacity.
- Portable Vapes
As the name implies, these are often small, portable and discreet vapourisers that are perfect for individuals who like to vape on the move. Portable vapes could either be fed with E-liquids or cannabis flowers. They could range anywhere from $65 to a whopping $975. This price hill is subject to functionality and brand.
E-liquids are fed into cartridges to produce the vapours to be inhaled. Depending on the frequency of use, E-liquids would need to be purchased in order to vape. E-liquid bottles are typically 10ml but can come in different sizes ranging from 5ml to 60ml. Depending on the quantity, a bottle of e-liquid could cost anywhere from $6.99 to $29.99.
Besides e-liquids, cannabis flowers can be purchased and fed into cartridges. These flowers are from the cannabis plant and come in different strains as opposed to flavours.
In the event that a non-rechargeable vape is acquired, one would have to keep in mind the cost of changing batteries.
Vaping Cannabis in New Zealand
Despite the campaigns and columns in favour of vaping as a healthy alternative to smoking, The New Zealand government is moving to tighten vaping laws, in line with the SFEA (Smoke-free Environments Act) 1990. The government proposal seeks to enlist e-cigarettes as tobacco products and will effect an outright ban on the use of vaping devices in restaurants, workplaces, and bars. This proposal will also instil tighter regulations on the sale and advertising of vaping products. This bill claims to protect citizens from the effects of second and third hand smoking, despite the smokeless nature of vaping devices. With cannabis in all recreational forms still illegal in New Zealand, and vaping under the strong scrutiny of the law, the current climate is not ideal for cannabis consumers who prefer to vape. The government has however announced that New Zealanders will vote on legalising cannabis for recreational use in a referendum in 2020. Cannabis users await the vote eagerly.
Cannabis vapers around the World
Multiple nations of the world– predominantly Asian and Central American countries – maintain averse views towards any form of vaping and cannabis consumption. In countries such as India, Hong Kong and Singapore, vaping is illegal. Vapers face up to a $10,000 fine coupled with a six-month prison sentence in Singapore alone. Cannabis laws are even stricter in these parts. In Singapore, for instance, if you are convicted of selling marijuana, you would be put to death. European countries are noted to be more accepting of vaping, the most notable being the UK (United Kingdom) and the Netherlands. In Portugal, Germany, Ireland and many others, individuals are permitted to vape freely. While recreational cannabis use is still restricted, many of these countries permit the use of medical marijuana. In Canada, cannabis use is completely legal. This is also true among several states in the United States. Vaping in such areas is accepted and even trending.
Vaping is trending as it’s gaining popularity worldwide. Even where the stigma against cannabis use may be evident, vaping may still emerge as an acceptable alternative given its ability to mask cannabis odors. There’s also no argument that these devices eliminate the risk of harmful carcinogens associated with traditional smoking. However, some argue that cannabis oils may in fact contain some harmful chemicals that become evident when heated. Proponents counter this with the alternative dry-vapers that use flowered cannabis. There’s also the concern of defective batters that malfunction or blow up when charged. Barring these concerns, vaping seems a great alternative to traditional smoking, if the costs associated with vapers aren’t of concern to you.