A quick google search of “celebrities who vape” drums up tons of photos of our favourite celebrities smoking e-cigarettes, or personal vaporizers, like it’s NBD. Johnny Depp, Katy Perry, and Cara Delevingne (courtside at a Knicks game, no less) have all be spotted with various forms of e-cigs or vaporizers in their mouths, puffing away in locations that formerly banned any type of smoking. Not that this new habit is only restricted to A-listers; vaping in public has become something of a regular occurrence. I was sitting on a streetcar recently, and noticed a man only a few feet away casually puffing on an e-cig. If it weren’t for the quick puff of ‘smoke’ coming from his direction, I wouldn’t even have noticed.
“Vaping,” or smoking from personal vaporizers (PV) or e-cigarettes, has become significantly more popular since it’s introduction to the public in 2004. Unlike traditional cigarettes, the vapour exhaled from e-cigs is quick to disappear, and is completely odorless. It doesn’t hang around and cling to everything like cigarettes of the past. With such a perk, it’s no surprise that the product has gained so much popularity among smokers. The inhalation of an odourless vapour has been touted as the healthier, safer, and less offensive alternative to lighting up in public. It’s a way for smokers to get their nicotine fix in without having to step outside (or off a streetcar), and with little to no regulation on such a new product, it’s easy to see why more smokers (and celebrities) are picking it up.
Vaporizers are becoming more than just a convenient way to smoke indoors. With so many variations of the device, from pens to compact sticks, they’ve become a bit of a fashion accessory. Pax Vapor, a silicon valley startup, has cornered the market on vaporizers with their beautifully designed Pax device. Offering up a discreet “loose leaf” chamber, instead of the flavoured oil packs e-cigs are known for, it’s easy to see why tobacco smokers aren’t Pax’s only customers. It’s not hard to spot Pax devices in head shops all over the city, where they are hailed for their discreet design and virtually undetectable nature. Though Ploom acknowledges the use of their products in the stoner community, they’ve yet to market directly to them. Having said that, their most recent collaboration with The Weeknd could be signalling a change.
Pax has released a limited edition version of the Pax2 vaporizer, a product that perfectly melds together fashion and genius merchandising. A sleek design and The Weeknd’s signature ‘xo’ engraving lends a level of sophistication to a device often written off as simply a discreet way for smokers to light up. For something originally intended to be low key, like a vaporizer, Pax clearly knows their market. Available in stores, online and at every stop of The Weeknd’s The Madness Fall tour, the limited edition vaporizer is tricked out with a matte black aluminum body, yellow LED setting, and turns on to the tune of the Weeknd’s hit, “The Hills.” It’s something users are going to want to show off as much as any fashion accessory.
So why the surge in popularity? It’s certainly less offensive to the general public to see an accessory someone clearly put money into, and celebrities backing them doesn’t hurt either. How threatening is it when pop stars like Katy Perry are seen puffing away on something that looks more like a fancy pen than anything else? A habit that doesn’t particularly intrude on one’s personal space is a hard one to form a solid opinion on. This isn’t just some guy on the corner blowing smoke in your face; it’s an odourless vapour housed in something carefully designed. Vapour, that like me, you probably wouldn’t even notice.
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