Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Smokeless Cigarette

A conductive metal tube in which tobacco is heated
  (+3, -1)
(+3, -1)
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If it were possible to suck heated air through tobacco without lighting it, or to suck air through tobacco that has been heated to a point below its ignition temperature, it should be possible to enjoy all of the flavor and nicotine of a cigarette without producing any smoke. As a chemical engineer I have studied volitilization and combustion processes entensively, and have concluded that the only purpose served by the burning tip of a cigarette is to provide a convenient heat source for volitilizing the nicotine and flavor elements of the tobacco. However, since I am not a smoker, I will need someone else to test my theory. I will now describe a simple test aparatus.

Buy a piece of copper tubing about the size of a cigarette. Clean it, and stuff it with tobacco. Insulate one end with something (many layers of masking tape perhaps) so that it does not burn your lips. Apply the flame of a butane lighter to the tube (not the tip) while slowly inhaling. At some point you should begin to taste the tobacco and get some nicotine.

So long as the tobacco never reaches the ignition temperature, you will not get any carbon monoxide, nor will you get many of the carcinogenic combustion products that result from burning tobacco, but that were not originally in the tobacco. The big question is, will you get a pleasant flavor, and will you get the nicotine buzz that you crave?

I suspect that volatilizing tobacco at a lower temperature will have other desirable effects. (1) Less of the heavy compounds (the tars) would be volatilized and inhaled. (2)I am nearly certain that the flavor will be more pleasant (I actually find the smell of a very freshly lit cigarette to be pleasant, but only for the first second before the smoker gets it going). (3) I suspect that much of the nicotine in the tobacco is destroyed by burning, so it might be possible to extract more nicotine from tobacco using this method.

If the consensus among those who try this is that it works, someone will need to take this process and refine it. It will have a great potential to immediately improve the lives of smokers in California and NYC where smoking is banned in all public places including bars. If it catches on, it will have the potential to improve the health of millions of smokers. I see at least three steps that would be needed to refine it to the point where a typical smoker can be comfortable "smokeless smoking" in front of others.

First, the aparatus and process needs to be refined. Can the smoker hold everything without burning his hands or lips? Is it easy to load it with tobacco? Does the butane lighter produce enough heat or does a more powerful heat source need to be developed? And it needs to look cool. Give the pipe and lighter a sexy shape and some gold or chrome plating.

Second, a marketing campaign will need to be conducted, so that everyone who sees it knows that it is tobacco in the thing and not some illegal drug.

Finally, extensive studies will need to be conducted to demonstrate conclusively that the whole process has very little potential to harm others. Once this is accomplished, another marketing campaign would seek to differentiate smokeless smoking from regular smoking so that it would be acceptable in bars and restaurants in all localities.

RunVentura, Sep 28 2006

Found it! http://www.de-verdamper.nl/paghist.html
This page is the history of the device. It is in dutch but you will get a good idea from the pictures. There is also some info in english, klick on english. [zeno, Sep 28 2006]

Something like this, but with heat. http://www.aerosinfo.com/method.cfm
[Galbinus_Caeli, Sep 28 2006]

Premier Cigarettes! http://www.pbs.org/...rette/history2.html
That was it. [Galbinus_Caeli, Sep 28 2006]

Chew tobacco http://www.snusworldwide.com/us/
Another discusting habit but less offensive [Pellepeloton, Oct 01 2006]


       I'm sure this is baked I read about it some years ago, i think consumer trials were even done.Sorry I cant remember what it was called or where I read it.
pydor, Sep 28 2006

       I'm just guessing here, but wouldn't all sorts of nasty pesticides, toxins, etc be liberated by this? I mean, without the flame to oxidise the majority of the contents, isn't there a chance you'd be inhaling a lot of things you normally wouldn't (or at least that would normally be partially oxidised/consumed by the heat)? I think you'd want to analyse some of the vapours before you encourage someone to inhale on them until they feel something.
Custardguts, Sep 28 2006

       I think it a clever first idea. (My first few were pretty terrible).   

       On the one hand, it has potential to stop a lot of second hand smoking. This is clearly a good thing.   

       On the other, it might encourage people to keep smoking when they would otherwise be driven to quit. But since they are only harming themselves, I supose it's their look out.   

       Custardguts might be onto something though, so some sort of chemical testing might be a good idea.
RobertKidney, Sep 28 2006

       In the Netherlands weed is sometimes used as a medecine but docters are reluctant to tell their patients to smoke.   

       So they (yes the illustrious them did it) took a paint stripper ( it is a device much like the blow drier for your hair but it gets much hotter) and connected it to a waterpipe or hooka.   

       Thus the thc molecules are disconnected and brought to your lungs without the burning. It is much healthier than smoking.   

       I'll see if I can find a link.
zeno, Sep 28 2006

       [pydor]I recall the same thing. I seem to recall it was a total failure. Smokers didn't like it. Link found!   

       Now I remember why I remember it. I worked in Market Research at the time and we worked on the trials for that dog. Those were some of the funniest interviews if I recall. I recall one man saying it tasted like burned beaver. (And I don't think he was talking about the dam building kind.)
Galbinus_Caeli, Sep 28 2006

       //So they (yes the illustrious them did it) took a paint stripper ( it is a device much like the blow drier for your hair but it gets much hotter) and connected it to a waterpipe or hooka.//   

       Special devices are built for this. They are called vapourisers and utilise a heated screen in a sealed jar with a tube with which to suck the smoke out and a valve to allow air in when smoke is sucked out. The substance is vaporised on the screen by heat and the contents of the container sucked out.
webfishrune, Sep 28 2006

       //tasted like burned beaver// That is funny on so many levels.
Zimmy, Sep 28 2006

       I was afraid to ask how he knew.
Galbinus_Caeli, Sep 28 2006

       be afraid be very afraid.....   

       yeah, you might rethink the copper, toxic when overdone on human consumption level, AND HOT. Vaporizer-type cigs never caught on, no back pressure. i am a smoker, and tried one. it was like a candy cigarette with a hole in it. Try the patch and keep an unsmokable cigarette around to suck on. (If this worked, I would not still be a smoker.)
prodigalaunt, Sep 28 2006


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