Future tech takes all kinds of forms, and some of those forms are the kind that let you smoke without the guilt or the cancer!
I recently visited Thermo Essence Technologies, which is a Silicon Valley company that makes high-tech "vaporizers" for inhaling nicotine, medical marijuana, or other herbs. They're kind of like electronic cigarettes, but much more premium in terms of construction (and cost). They come in multiple varieties, and they both look cool and keep you from getting cancer, no matter what you're smoking.
The vaporizers use a (rechargeable) battery-powered kiln to conduct super-heated air over whatever substance is inside--either nicotine in the form of dried leaves or drops, or other botanicals (ahem). The heat produces vapor that's much closer to steam than to smoke, and it's much, much, much better for you than smoking. In fact, studies show that vaporization is a safe way to inhale medicinal marijuana. It also turns out that, minus all the tar and toxins and maybe even the tobacco, nicotine is little but a mild stimulant, similar to caffeine or even white sugar. It's still addictive, but it's not eating out your lungs from the inside.
Plus, in terms of geek cred, the entire Thermo Essence manufacturing process, from design to shipping, takes place in one surprisingly compact warehouse in San Carlos, Calif. All the materials are sourced in the U.S., all the building happens onsite with huge cool precision machinery, and our camera guy, Celso, got his overhead shots from the very same forklift that puts the palettes on trucks for shipping worldwide. I'm not an affirmed "vaper" yet, but I'm giving all my smoker friends one of these for Christmas.
Editor's note: Always On premieres in its entirety on Tuesday, June 19. Don't miss the first episode!