Atomizers and Vaporizers. What the BLEEP???

November 20, 2014


Electric electronically controlled smoking pipes are competing with traditional smoking devices such as rolling papers and bongs because of their efficiency, unique smoking experience and discreetness.

Now as I am writing for a publically available paper, I can not legally tell you that these electric pipes can be used for illegal leafy substances such as recreational marijuana.  I state for the record that the devices I am about to discuss, should only be used with legal substances such as medical marijuana, state taxed tobacco, or what is often portrayed in the instructions accompanying these pipes, pencil shavings. Hence forth where the word “herb” is used, I am referring to only the legal substances now described.  The word “oil” shall refer only to the legal processing of medical marijuana into an essential oil.

When I was a kid, a vaporizer was an electrically powered, water filled canister that steamed your room when you were sick.  An atomizer was a ray gun that I saw in a bad Sci-Fi movie.  That’s not what I am talking about, I am talking about reusable devices, usually electric, often electronic,  sometimes portable, powered by wall current, butane torch or battery powered that heat a substance, to release volatiles, for inhalation. WOW that’s a lung-full! True vaporizers do not burn the herb!

So…  “What is a vaporizer”?  “What is an atomizer”?

I was at an indoor flea market last month and asked that very question to the guy sitting at the table selling E-cigarettes and other smoking paraphernalia. Before the chap had time to answer, I chirped “And what’s the difference between it and an E-cigarette”? Beaming my usual mischievous smile, I then stood silently staring at him. He had quite an assortment of gadgets that I later quizzed him on. These questions have led me on a quest to really know the whole story. I intend to share my research with you in this and the next few issues of this paper. My findings so far are as follows.

The guy at the table at the market said he really didn’t have any true vaporizers to sell, that he had what he called an atomizer that worked with both dry and oily substances. According to Rob, a true vaporizer only works with dry herb and does not burn it. No smoke is created.  The sensation and experience is unique, nothing seems to be drawn into the lungs, yet a popcorn taste is experienced. Seconds later, the creeping realization that yes indeed something was inhaled!  The next most amazing thing is that there is almost no smell. I don’t smell anything when one is used in my vicinity. The device allows several heat settings so that different volatiles may be inhaled. While the most efficient are table top plug-in devices, some battery powered vaporizers are a close efficiency match and very small and discreet! There are varied models and manufacturers.  All vaporizers I have encountered so far have been expensive, starting at about $250.00

What is an atomizer?

An atomizer is often confused with a vaporizer. It appears to me to be a smoking device that has been adapted from an E-cigarette to efficiently release volatiles from a substance through combustion. They look a lot like an E-cigarette.  They have a heating element that heats the product, but are not as complex as a vaporizer. While most work with oil only, some will work with dry herb. These devices offer a very “easy on the throat and lungs” smoking experience. They are considerably less money than a vaporizer and start at about $50.00 and go up from there. Some can be used for both oil and herb. These devices do emit some smell!

Stay tuned for the next article.


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