Your VaporBuddy May Contain Lead

Troubling news for anyone who’s used a VaporBuddy pipe.

As mentioned in our VaporGenie review, the VaporBuddy is a knockoff of the Genie and was thought to be of questionable quality.

As it turns out, some (maybe all) models of the VaporBuddy are coated with, get this, lead paint. Yes, lead paint, used to coat a pipe. Doesn’t get much worse than that.

Here’s the email Dan sent me, the pdf with the lab results is at the bottom.

Thanks again for your well written, thorough and honest review of the vaporgenie.

Recently, we bought a few vapor buddy pipes (the VG knockoff), and had the paint on them tested for lead. We scraped the paint, and sent it to a laboratory for testing. The paint contained 7500ppm lead, which exceeds the federal limit for toys and consumer items. The lab test result is attached. There is also a page on our website about this.

So, the paint on the vapor buddy pipe contains a significant amount of lead. Also, in the pipes we tested, there was lead paint *inside* the pipe. Outrageous.

Anyway, you should know that there are TWO versions of the vapor buddy on the market: an “original” knockoff, and a super-cheap ($10) absolute piece of junk knockoff (that doesnt even work). They are difficult to tell apart. We tested the $10 junk knockoff, because at the time we were not aware of the difference. So, the cheap junk VB contains lead for sure, but we dont yet know about the the “original” VB. We have ordered some of the “original” VB pipes so that we can test them for lead. We will post the results, and send them to you when we get them.

The guys at sell the “original” VB. They insist that it does NOT contain lead, and that it is anodized, not painted (anodized coatings do not contain lead). However, they have not done the testing, and I am skeptical of their claim. We will know for sure once we get the lab results.

Anyway, I thought I would let you know whats happening with the Vapor Buddy. People need to know that these pipes contain lead and are therefore a health hazard.


Lab results PDF or image.

More on this story.

I will update with the findings of the next test when it’s available to me.

Vaporizing Tobacco

I’ve haven’t really ever had the urge to vaporize tobacco. As a born again non-smoker, it just doesn’t feel right. However, the concept of vaporizing tobacco is something that deserves a lot of attention.

All but the most deluded smokers will probably agree to some extent that smoking cigarettes is an unsavory habit. By now, it’s no secret how deadly smoking is, and many of us know at least one person who had died from it.

So why is it that vaporizers, which can eliminate virtually all toxins, are used almost exclusively for marijuana? Are potheads not as dumb as we’ve been lead to believe?

A visitor recently asked me if I had any suggestions for vaporizing tobacco. I didn’t, and neither did Google. A quick web search on “vaporizing tobacco” didn’t produce much useful information. The best I could find were some pages listing the vaporization points of various plants. Tobacco’s seemed to be 125°C to 150°C (257F to 302F), which seems a little low.

Anyway, he said he was using a Vapir One at 350F with pipe tobacco, which produced a visible vapor and an immediate buzz comparable to smoking 3 cigarettes at once. I assume it was pleasurable as he mentioned that he used 5 or 6 water pipe sized bowls in one night.

Apparently there are already some smokeless cigarettes out there. Aeros claim to produce a nicotine and flavor vapor through capillary action, and to last up to 30 times longer than normal cigarettes. I’m not entirely sure how these work but they sound almost too good to be true. They declined my request for more information, citing concerns over trademark secrets.

Tobacco giant Phillip Morris is testing a new product called the HeatBar, which heats tobacco and is said to produce less smoke. Sounds like some sort of crude vaporizer, I’m guessing it’s mainly a loophole to skirt smoking bans in Australia and Switzerland, where it’s to be debuted. North Americans won’t see it anytime soon because apparently “it’s too strange a concept for smokers to embrace”. I guess Phillip Morris hasn’t seen too many late night tv infomercials.

The important thing to consider is that there are safer ways to ingest nicotine. Combustion is going out of style.

This post was fairly rushed, I’ll update as more information is available.

Quick addendum to this unfinished post

  • Commercial cigarette tobacco is loaded with nasty additives, be sure to look into some organic stuff
  • The Purple-Days vaporizer seems to be a good fit for smokers making the switch
  • It seems that Aeros are just a brand/variation of e-cigarette, which use nebulizers to vaporize a liquid nicotine solution.
  • More comments on vaporizing tobacco in our forum

Vapor Lunch

I’ve been wanting to write up a review on the Silver Surfer vaporizer for some time. Apparently it’s a lot more fun to use than to write about. :D For now, check out a couple photos of my SSV.

Right now I’m in a pretty strong haze, hitting silky-smooth, ice-cold vees and listening to the new Neil Young record (he owns record label vapor records).


Droopy mushroomSombreroBurrsWasp on flower

Long live your lungs!

On VaporGenie Safety

VaporGenie's ceramic flame filterWhile writing my VaporGenie review I came across a tarnishing message board post which made some disturbing claims, among other things:

seriously though i talked with the manufacture of the filter they use on the vaporgenie, its made out of silicon carbide, and he said that it releases known cancer causing carcigons.
He said they had a material that would work much better, and was safe and completely inert and did would not off gas, he was going to hook me up with a sample but they only do runs of it when someone orders it, and there was a pretty big minimum order.

It looked like someone trying to hurt VG sales, the poster couldn’t even spell “carcinogens”. Nonetheless, I had to get answers. Dan, the inventor of the VaporGenie was nice enough to shoot down the libel and refute some fallacious statements.


Thank you for the opportunity to respond to this stuff.

I assume you are talking about this, primarily:

A steep dose-response relationship for tumors was reported after application of 0.05 to 25 mg of whiskers of SiC in 1991 in a chronic intraperitoneal injection study in rats. In contrast, doses of 250 and 1000 mg of granular SiC did not cause tumors. The whiskers contained 107,000,000 fibers longer… Continued (3rd post down)

VaporGenie’s response:

The VaporGenie filter is made of monolithic silicon carbide that absolutely does not produce particles. “Monolithic” means that it is a single piece of continuous silicon carbide, not a collection of sintered-together particles. It is monolithic because it is made by chemical vapor deposition, which deposits continuous crystals of SiC. The SiC is semiconductor-grade, which means it is 99.999% pure. Particles would indeed be a concern with sintered materials, since particles can break off from sintered materials. We did not use sintered materials for this reason.

With the VaporGenie filter, pieces can break off of the filter if its crushed or something, but these pieces will be much larger than the micron-size dust particles typically associated with lung damage from other kinds of particles. Pieces broken off the filter would not be whisker-shaped and would be visible to the eye, most likely. Whiskers are dangerous, whereas particles are not. It is common for whiskers to be dangerous and particles to be relatively safer.

The VaporGenie filter weighs about 500mg and does not lose material after months/years of use.

“Intraperitoneal” means inside the abdominal cavity. They injected SiC whiskers into the abdominal cavity of rats. I dont think this is very relevant to inhalation.

I believe that inhaled SiC particles are likely not very dangerous unless you are inhaling a lot of dust. The VaporGenie filter does not produce dust.

The VaporGenie filter is completely inert under the conditions in the pipe. The SiC does not react chemically, outgas or release anything.

So, in my view the VaporGenie filter is absolutely not hazardous. I would be more concerned about tars etc. coming from the vaped herb.

More Answers

I like the concept of the VaporGenie immensely, but I’ll take no chances with potentially carcinogenic stuff. I figure I get enough just from the air and preservatives that I’m exposed to that any tiny bit could hoist me over some threshold.

The VaporGenie filter is completely inert and doesnt release anything-no particles, gases chemicals etc. Using the VaporGenie will expose the user to far less carcinogens than smoking. The VaporGenie isnt perfectly clean, of course. I dont think any form of vaporization can be. But its a vast improvement over smoking.

I heard using a torch lighter with the vaporgenie burns out the filter too fast its only designed for a bic lighter so beware!

This is not true. Torch lighters are fine.

Ideally that would be true, but it never burns completely. I do use a torch lighter and it seems to work pretty well, but you can still taste some butane when you do a dry run. Not that I’m really worried; I doubt butane is as bad as all the stuff in smoke.

I agree. Lighter exhaust is cleanest (and quite clean) when the flame is undisturbed, and does not touch solid surfaces. So keep the flame away from the metal parts and away from the ceramic filter.

Thank you for the opportunity to dispel myths and provide feedback. I wish people would just ask us questions or check out our website instead of posting nonsense like this.



Thanks for taking the time to reply, Dan. It looks like VaporGenie owners can vaporize in peace.

VaporGenie Review

Vapor Genie LogoWhen I first heard about the VaporGenie I was immediately intrigued. Here was a small, pipe-like vaporizer for $50 and people were raving about it. Portable vapor without batteries sounded too good to be true. Was it?

Ordering and Shipping

I went with the ash model, there’s also an exotic hardwood version available that looks a bit more like something Santa Claus would have. I ordered directly from the manufacturer’s website using a prepaid credit card, the charge on the card was listed as VAPORGENIE LLC.

The confirmation email said thanks, and to send them an email if it didn’t arrive within 10 days, but that most orders take less than 7. Shortly after, I got an email from one of the VaporGenie staff

Hello VB,

Please let us know when it reaches you – we are trying to determine
shipping times with the new US Postal Service International Mail system.

Best regards,

No tracking number, but a nice touch none the less. It arrived in my mailbox exactly 10 days later, not too bad, though I was anxious to try it. It might have taken a bit longer due to a holiday and the fact that I was not located in the U.S.

It came in a blank, paper, packing envelope filled with bubble wrap. Along with the VaporGenie pipe itself, there were 2 small informational pamphlets. The contents listed on the customs declaration was “Tobacco Pipe”.

Construction and Appearance

At first glance the VaporGenie may look like a normal combustion pipe, but believe it or not, this thing is a vaporizer.

VaporGenie Side viewRear viewFront viewSide overhead view

Handmade in Virginia, the VaporGenie’s body is solid ash (hardwood), sanded down to a smooth finish and sealed with a food grade varnish. According to the manufacturer, there are no glues, adhesives or toxic materials used in the VaporGenie.

There are 2 main parts to the VaporGenie. The bottom piece is basically a normal pipe with a bowl and screen. It’s the spherical top piece that does the magic. Inside the sphere is dowel-shaped, ceramic flame-filter which has hundreds of tiny holes in a sponge-like formation. It keeps some distance between the flame from your lighter and the bowl, heating the air to vaporizing temperatures before it passes over your legal herb. Convection, basically.

The bowl and replaceable screen are stainless steel, as is the threaded sleeve portion on the bottom of the sphere. The threads are sturdy and catch easily. The flame filter itself is an inert ceramic– high purity silicon carbide according to the VaporGenie website. Finally, the thin metal insert which covers any wood exposed to flame is chrome plated brass, and the mouthpiece is glossy black plastic.

Ergonomically, the knurled design feels good in your hand and it has a nice weight (78 grams) to it. The unique grain patterns in the wood are quite attractive, IMO, and with the right kind of eyes, the shape of the pipe does resemble some sort of genie.

Top removed with ruler and Bic lighterThe bowlTop of the sphereThe ceramic flame filter illuminated by flash. Looks much blacker to the eye.

Overall, the VaporGenie is sturdy and well constructed, ash is the stuff they make baseball bats out of. The only thing that might fall apart, or out, rather, is the plastic mouthpiece, which is held in by ridges. Mine hasn’t fallen out but I can pull it out. Also, the older models didn’t come with a mouthpiece and it still works without it.

If anything does happen, the VaporGenie is covered by a lifetime warranty against defects, and the folks who make it seem like good people.

Using the VaporGenie

Grind up your legal herb or tobacco and load the bowl, leaving some room to screw on the top piece. From there it’s similar to using a normal pipe; apply a flame just above or just below the lip of the intake hole, above the ceramic flame filter, and draw air through the mouthpiece. Sounds easy, but it takes a little practice to get the temperature right.

Temperature is controlled by adjusting the flame and suction. The slower you inhale, the hotter the air gets. This might sound counter intuitive, but the slower the air is moving the more time it has to heat up.

What works for me is to keep the flame in the middle of the intake hole, around 2mm below the lip, while inhaling at a medium-slow rate for about 10 seconds.

Don’t Burn That Herb!

With proper technique the VaporGenie will indeed grant you some herbal or tobacco vapor. Let it get too hot and you’ll end up with scorched herb, and, smoke.

My smoking friends tended to want to cook it too long at first, since they’re used to feeling smoke in their lungs. It will probably take some basic coaching to ensure your friends don’t scorch the herb, this is important because combustion will make your VaporGenie taste like nasty burnt popcorn.

After a couple tries, my buddy was hitting it like a champ, better than me, with big vapor clouds and no burnage. Everyone will have their own technique with this thing.

Another thing you want to avoid is actually touching the flame to the ceramic flame filter itself. Doing so will leave soot deposits which clog the tiny holes in the filter. There are cleaning instructions on the VaporGenie website should this occur.

As with all vaporizers, stirring the herb between hits aids even cooking and allows visual inspection to determine doneness. Reload and repeat as desired.

Update: Here’s a little trick I’ve been using: Put an ice cube (or two) in your mouth so the air stream from the pipe passes over it. It cools the vapor down and also helps catch any small particles. You can even hold a little water in your mouth for some pseudo bong action.

Stealth and Convenience

One of the VaporGenie’s big selling points is its compact size. This thing is infinitely more portable than a plug in vaporizer and a lot easier to conceal for those who’d prefer to keep their business private.

The VaporGenie makes it really easy to hit some vees in the bathroom or even at your desk at work, if you’re brave enough. The fact that it doesn’t require electricity should make it very attractive to those who want to vaporize in a car, tent or just about anywhere but a windstorm (works best with zero wind; no flame fluctuations).

I also like how the top piece keeps any herb from falling out should you need to put it in your pocket. Just make sure no herb is stuck to the flame filter before you heat it up.

We used one VaporGenie between 3 people with pleasing results, any more might be a hassle, especially if they’re new. Of course, you could use more than one.

Vapor Quality

The VaporGenie is what it is– a compact vaporizer-pipe that uses a flame for heat. It should be made clear (and it is on the VaporGenie website) that it doesn’t produce vapor as clean as that from a high end vaporizer with an all ceramic heating element. While the flame-heated vapor certainly tastes a lot better than smoke, it’s not as tasty or clean as the vapor from my Silver Surfer Vaporizer. That said, when used properly, the VaporGenie can produce big clouds of vapor.

There have been some questions raised about the health implications of inhaling butane and even whether you do at all… You could probably minimize the risk by using high quality, multi-refined butane in a refillable lighter with piezoelectric ignition (eliminates flint dust, which is likely worse to inhale than butane). Some people have reported good results using torch/blue flame style butane lighters which burn a lot cleaner than bics.

In any case, I think it’s logical to assume that vapor from the VaporGenie is much safer than inhaling smoke. While I’ll continue use my Silver Surfer when possible, The VG is really is portable vapor– anytime, anywhere.

* I found a message board post accusing the flame filter of being dangerous (2nd post). It looks a bit like someone trying to hurt business, as no solid proof is provided. I’ll try to get some more info on this.

Update: Dan from VaporGenie has responded to this nasty accusation.
Read his response here.


The VaporGenie is a compact vaporizer pipe that uses a ceramic flame filter to keep your lighter’s flame from touching the herb below. It takes some practice to use properly, and isn’t as clean as a high end vaporizer, but, it’s super portable, stealthy and only $50.

If you’re interested in vaporizing but aren’t ready to shell out the big bucks, this might be the ticket. Even if you already own a high end vaporizer, the VaporGenie is handy to have when you’re away from home or without access to electricity.

For the money, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better vaporizer. My friends that have used it all want their own.

Quick Hits


  • compact / portable
  • stealthy
  • looks cool
  • convection
  • solid, non-toxic construction
    • reliable
  • lifetime guarantee
  • top piece keeps herb from falling out
  • $50
    • inexpensive entry into vaporization
    • good value for money


  • uses flame as heat source
    • butane can taint taste of vapor (debated)
    • not as clean as ceramic element heaters
    • can dry your throat
    • burns through lighters quickly
  • flame/inhalation based temperature control is fairly inaccurate (especially for inexperienced users)
    • accidental combustion possible
  • somewhat steep learning curve
    • not ideal for large groups
  • not as efficient as some high end vaporizers
  • mouthpiece can come loose

Looks like a lot of negatives, but don’t get me wrong. I’m comparing this to vaporizers costing 10 times as much, and they don’t fit in your pocket! I like my VaporGenie and would buy it again, even if they upped the price.

Note: I’ve been made aware of a VaporGenie knockoff called the VaporBuddy, pretty much your (sub)standard knockoff imported from China. Aside from the fact that it’s a ripoff and likely constructed with little concern for health, it actually costs more than the VaporGenie.

Do yourself a favor and get the real thing.

Mini Duathlon

Specialized and AsicsWent running then biking this morning after some chilled vapor hits. A real duathlon is run/bike/run but 2 was enough for me.
3.6km for each with times of 18:50 for the run and 8:37 for the bike, working out to average speeds of 11.47km/h and 25.07km/h respectively. Not sure how good/bad that is, but not too bad considering I didn’t run all summer, also the way back is pretty much all uphill.

The herbal vapor was a nice pick up and helped energize me. There’s a certain feeling you get after totally exerting yourself, called a runner’s high. Basically it’s the feeling of endorphins coursing through your body and it feels awesome. Anyway, if I didn’t quit smoking when I did I probably wouldn’t be writing this post. It is possible, keep that in mind.

Breathe easy.

Vapor Weekend

Had a great, vapor filled weekend. I vaporized with a good friend of mine (Æ) who had not yet tried the technique. We used to blaze together all the time, so it was interesting to see his reaction. I’ll post his initial thoughts if he’s nice enough to type it up for me. :D I think he was impressed, especially with the taste and smoothness.

Another friend (SH) and I kicked things off after work on Friday with some chilled vapor hits via my Silver Surfer Vaporizer and glass ice chamber. I had 3 different strains and later my good buddy Æ arrived with another bag of herbal medicine. It was a blast sampling all 4 flavors along with some fresh mint tea. Needless to say, we ended up extremely vaporized. We played some Team Fortress 2 and then headed off to SH’s house, grabbing a 60 pounder of Bacardi on the way.

After some drinks and some hits from my VaporGenie pipe we chowed down on an awesome turkey dinner. The usual antics ensued, with SH’s younger bro getting shot in the legs with cherry bomb peppers through a paintball gun. We stayed up late playing no limit hold ‘em and watching Planet Terror.

The next day was extraordinarily beautiful, the only clouds were from my VaporGenie. We went for a long nature hike and I took some photos with my new Canon SD1000.

Fat spiderStink/Shield bugWolf spider vs shield bugNasty ashtray full of cigarette buttsDew dropletsFallen soldierTall pinesWoolly bear caterpillarOn the way homeShortcut to mushroomsConcrete jungleUp a few buyins

The VaporGenie was super convenient to whip out for a quick vapor hit (“vees” as we call them) whenever the desire struck, it can be used quite covertly. That said, it was nice to come home to my Silver Surfer and ice chamber; both do the job but there’s a marked difference in taste and efficiency. I’ll post some more information on both when I get a chance. I was vaporized pretty much the entire weekend, surely a new personal record.

Right now I’m listening to the new Radiohead album, playing some Portal, drinking some nice herbal tea, and… you guessed it.

Hit those vees,

Don’t Smoke. Vaporize!

Vaporizing is a safe, efficient and enjoyable way to enjoy your favorite herbal medicines. I wanted to share my experiences and hopefully turn more people on to this amazing method, as well as learn a bit about blogging.
no smoking

Welcome, and stay tuned!