Pax is a premium loose leaf vaporizer created by Ploom. Unlike electronic cigarettes, this particular gadget doesn’t use e-liquid to produce vapor, but actual tobacco leaves. Its intriguing design and features could make the Ploom Pax a worthy competitor for e-cigs.
Ploom is a small company that specializes in vaporizers. Created in 2004, by two Stanford students, as a graduate project, the company had created only one vaporizer, before the Pax, called modelOne. They only had a few thousand clients worldwide, but hope to have a much bigger success with their new device. Their expectations are backed up by the cool design and original features of the Pax, which its creators hope will appeal to young tech aficionados. Although it’s called a vaporizer and produces vapor, not smoke, the Ploom Pax is not an e-cigarette, although it’s been called that by some reputable media outlets. Whereas electronic cigarettes use safe e-juice to produce vapor, the Pax has a small oven which has to be filled with actual tobacco in order to work. So, even though you’re not getting any of that nasty tar into the lungs, you are still inhaling some of those nasty toxins found in tobacco.
One of the key elements that separates the Ploom Pax from both analog cigs and electronic cigarettes is its ingenious design. When Hon Lik invented the e-cigarette, he went for a very literal interpretation of the original tobacco cig, in hopes that it would make most users feel more comfortable using it, but the guys behind Pax felt that wasn’t the way to go for their product. They wanted to created something cool for people who want a cigarette but don’t really want to be associated with cigarettes. Ploom is targeting the “sometimes smoker, that person who doesn’t buy cigarettes, but always bums one at bars, and the “conflicted smoker”, who feels ostracized by his habit, but doesn’t want to give it up. So they decided to create something that looks nice, instead of just imitating cigarettes.
I have to admit I’m a big fan of the Pax’s design. It’s small enough to fit in your pocket, it’s sleek, and as many others have already noticed, it has that Apple product look that makes them so damn popular. It’s also really easy to use. All you have to do is fill the small oven with a pinch of tobacco, click on the mouthpiece to turn on the Pax and wait about 30 seconds until it heats up for use. Then you just draw on it like an ordinary electronic cigarette. Ploom also added some nice features, although you couldn’t really tell by the clean look of the Pax. That small “x’ shaped LED acts as a multiple indicator, showing the status of the device (on/off), battery power and heat level. Vapor production is on par with most average electronic cigarettes, while the battery will hold a casual vaper for an entire day or three hours of continuous use. When it’s empty, a small charging dock will bring it back to full power in just one hour.
Although they’ve had some problems finding investors for their latest creation, Ploom managed to get Japan Tobacco International, the world’s third-largest tobacco company to buy a small stake in the company. They hope to be able to distribute the Pax to every country in the world, when it’s launched, on August 1st. So, it seems Lorillard buying Blu Cigs isn’t the only sign that tobacco giants are looking to invest in cigarette alternatives.
Remember we called White Cloud Cigarettes the Rolls Royce of electronic cigarettes? Well, the Ploom Pax aims to become the iPod of vaporizers, and is priced accordingly. This luxury gadget will set you back $250, a lot more than most premium e-cigarette starter kits, but for vapers with a taste for real tobacco and an eye for tasteful design, the Pax might just be worth it. Although I love its cool look, I do have some concerns regarding the use of actual tobacco. While we already concluded smokeless tobacco is healthier than analog cigarettes, it still contains a number of toxins that could affect your health in the long run. Quite frankly, I would choose the e-cigarette as an alternative to smoking any day. It may have a kitschy design, but the health benefits are incomparable. Still I wouldn’t mind e-cig companies taking a different approach design-wise, just to spice things up a bit.