Pubdate: Sat, 26 Jun 2004
Source: Winnipeg Free Press (CN MB)
Copyright: 2004 Winnipeg Free Press
Author: Alexandra Paul
Cited: Volcano
Related: study
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


Device Lets You Inhale Tobacco Steam

THERE'S no need to steam over the butt ban -- not when you can inhale
tobacco steam indoors, thanks to a German invention that may foil the
city's smoking ban.

The Volcano ATS -- for Alternative to Smoking -- is a machine that
lets you suck back nicotine vapourized in a cellophane bag.

Simply put, the device lets smokers smoke without smoking, but some
officials don't like the idea any more than old-fashioned cigarettes.

Either way, it's up for sale to Winnipeg bars and hotels.

The city's smoking ban doesn't outlaw the device.

That creates a loophole that may let the Volcano slip its steam into
smokers' lungs legally. You don't smell tobacco. There's no smoke.

But the cost is high. The machine retails for $1,200 and mouthpieces
are another $60 each.

"They have shooter bars. They have oyster bars. Why not a vapour bar?"
distributor Tom Beggs said.

Beggs, a plumbing and heating salesman, teamed up with two other
businessmen to buy the distribution rights to the device.

It was developed in Germany, originally to allow patients to inhale
medical marijuana without creating smoke.

Beggs hopes it will sell in Winnipeg. Beggs plugged in a Volcano at
the Silver Heights Restaurant yesterday to show how it works.

Restaurant owners Jim and Maureen Siwicki say they may be the first to
invest in the device.

Sagging sales in hotels and bars are just now bouncing back from the
hit they took over the ban.

"The sales pitch is a place like us is supposed to buy one so people
can say, 'Let's go to Silver Heights, because they have it,'" Jim
Siwicki said.

The Volcano is a small stainless steel cone mounted on a mini-hot
plate that literally roasts cigarette tobacco. It feeds the vapour
into a cellophane bag the size of a bread bag and smokers inhale the
vapour through a mouthpiece.

Sucking back cigarette vapour instead of smoking tobacco is legal --
at least for now.

But nothing prevents the city from passing changes to the butt ban to
outlaw the Volcano, a city spokeswoman said.

City Coun. Mark Lubosch (North Kildonan), who led the city campaign to
outlaw public smoking, indicated he'd be first to head off Volcano

Lubosch said he doesn't care how the Volcano lets off steam, he
doesn't like the sound of it. "Any time you're talking about putting
your lips on a machine called a Volcano, I become concerned," Lubosch

Beggs said the device may be healthier than smoking because one study
- -- that tested marijuana -- found the resulting vapour was pure THC
(the active ingredient in pot), without any component additives in

If that's true of cigarettes, then carcinogenic additives released by
burning tobacco may not be released in tobacco vapour.

Beggs, a non-smoker, said he wants to bring smokers in from the

"Smokers have to stand outside in the rain, the cold, the heat and the
bugs and smoke. They're treated like common criminals," Beggs said.

Winnipeg was among the first cities in Canada to declare an outright
ban on smoking in public places.

Since the bylaw took effect last September, five people have faced
charges for breaking the ban.

Two cases were subsequently dismissed and three more are still
pending. Fines range from $100 for a first offence against an
individual to $1,000 for a third-time offence against a corporation. 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake