February 26, 2016
The Evolution of Smoking Technology
History of Smoking Devices
The new millennium has seen the invention of vaporizers and electronic cigarettes, but smoking and smoking technology are far from recent. In fact, smoking various substances can be linked to many ancient civilizations including the Mayans, the Aztecs and many American indigenous cultures. Until Christopher Columbus, smoking tobacco was exclusive to the Americas, but after he brought the plant to Europe, it quickly became a global staple.
The New Global Superstar
Tobacco quickly spread and so did the need to for smoking devices. In Africa, artisans began making smoking pipes and bowls to accommodate the region’s latest trade good. The Middle East considered smoking a social activity and invented the hookah, a water pipe that can be shared with multiple people. In South Asia, clove cigarettes became popular and eventually spread around the world along with the use of short pipes called chillums. The 1800s saw the invention of cigarette rolling machines, which replaced or enhanced many budding hand-rolling factories.
The 20th Century and Beyond
In the 1960s, South Asian chillums and pipes gained popularity in the United States and recent decades have also seen the rise of hookah bars across the country. The ‘90s saw the first vaporizers, but the technology didn’t quite catch on until 2003 with Hon Lik’s version of the technology. Vaporizers are quickly gaining popularity and are quickly changing the way people consume tobacco, marijuana and similar products. These new devices bring the potential of safer smoking with minimal exposure to harmful chemicals and byproducts.
From the Mayans to today, smoking technology has been a staple of many cultures since the introduction of tobacco and other smokables in world trade markets. Recently, vaporizers have taken center stage as the newest technology with untold promise. However, water pipes, chillums and bowls are still widely used and continue to demand their fair share of attention and use.