A vaporizer or vaporiser, colloquially known as a vape, is a device used to vaporize substances for inhalation. Plant substances can be used, commonly cannabis, tobacco, or other herbs or blends. However, they can also be filled with a combination propylene glycol, glycerin, and drugs such as nicotine (e.g. extract from tobacco) or tetrahydrocannabinol as a liquid solution.
Vaporizers contain various forms of extraction chambers including straight bore, venturi, or sequential venturi, and are made of materials such as metal or glass. The extracted vapor may be collected in an inflatable bag, or inhaled directly through a hose or pipe. When used properly, cooler temperatures due to lack of combustion result in significantly more efficient extraction of the ingredients. Hence, the irritating and harmful effects of smoking are heavily reduced, as is its secondhand smoke.
An electronic cigarette is a battery-powered vaporizer which simulates the feeling of smoking,but without burning tobacco. Their use is commonly called "vaping". The user activates the e-cigarette by taking a puff or pressing a button. They are often cylindrical, but come in many variations. Some look like traditional cigarettes. Most are reusable but there are also disposable versions called first generation cigalikes. There are also second, third, and fourth generation devices. Instead of cigarette smoke, the user inhales an aerosol, commonly called vapor. E-cigarettes typically have a heating element that atomizes a liquid solution known as e-liquid. E-liquids usually contain propylene glycol, glycerin, water, nicotine, and flavorings. E-liquids are also sold without propylene glycol, without nicotine, or without flavors.
The benefits and the health risks of e-cigarettes are uncertain. There is tentative evidence that they can help people quit smoking, but they have not been proven better than regulated medication. As of 2014, their usefulness in tobacco harm reduction is unclear, but they have a potential to be part of the strategy to decrease tobacco related death and disease. Their safety risk to users is estimated to be similar to that of smokeless tobacco. Regulated US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) nicotine replacement products are safer than e-cigarettes, but e-cigarettes are probably safer than smoking.
Dry herb vaporizers can be used to inhale marijuana. Of the studies about vaporizing marijuana, few have addressed the quality of the vapor extracted and delivered; instead, studies usually focus on the mode of usage of the vaporizers. There are 483 identifiable chemical constituents known to exist in the cannabis plant, and at least 85 different cannabinoids have been isolated from the plant. The aromatic terpenoids begin to vaporize at 126.0 °C (258.8 °F), but the more bio-active tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabinol (CBN) do not vaporize until near their respective boiling points: THC 157 °C (315 °F), CBD 160–180 °C (320–356 °F), and CBN 185 °C (365 °F).
Vaporizers can also be used to inhale cannabis oil and waxy concentrates that have been extracted from the plant. Sometimes the oil is also mixed with propylene glycol and polyethylene glycol to make it less viscous.
Vaporizer with water cooling
A conduction-style vaporizer
A passive-convection "vaporization pipe" with flame filter
A portable radiation vaporiser
A Storz & Bickel Volcano, a forced-air vaporizer. The detachable balloon (top) fills with vapors that are then inhaled