Just like many other industries, smoke shops have a lingo and culture of their own. Walking into a smoke shop for the first time can be a bit intimidating. However, if you know a few things ahead of time, you’ll feel like a regular. You’ll know what to look for, what not to do, and the proper questions to ask. Here are a few of the most important basics.
Regulations are Top Priority
Smoke shops come under a lot of scrutiny and are required to toe the line when it comes to government procedures, policies, and laws. These regulations can vary from state to state. Even though some people can use these products for illegal substances, everything sold in a smoke shop is strictly for tobacco or legal herbs or concentrates. For example, you will more than likely be asked to show identification and you should just be prepared to do so without hesitation. You may be able to buy cigarettes at your corner market without an ID because you easily look over 18, but smoke shops are being watched constantly so they have much higher standards. You can find examples online of various warnings and citations issued to such establishments, and you can see just how serious the FDA and TABC take violations.
Terminology is Important
It may seem like a minor thing, but because of the seriousness of any violations, misused terminology could make it seem like you are involved in illegal activity, or like you are an official checking out the premises. Most smoke shop owners don’t have a lot of tolerance for this because they know it could mean trouble for their business. You should do some research before heading into a smoke shop to make sure you don’t inadvertently signal illegal activity. For example, never ask for a bong or a bubbler. Instead, refer to anything with water in it as a water pipe. A few other terms to remember are:
- Dab rigs: water pipes for concentrates
- Dabbers: tools to scoop up concentrates
- Glass blunts: hollow glass pipes for tobacco or legal herbs
- Hand pipes: small hand-held glass pipes for tobacco or legal herbs
Just like with any other retailer, prices can vary greatly between smoke shops depending on location and the quality of the items. However, it’s good to know some basic price ranges ahead of time so you know what to expect. Typical hand pipes can range anywhere from $5 to $200, while water pipes usually start at about $40 and go up into the thousands. Materials and availability in the area make a big difference in these ranges. For example, you might find a custom piece designed by an artist that is quite pricey, while a simple piece that’s more abundant can be pretty cheap.
Now that you are equipped with some basic smoke shop lingo and information, hopefully you’ll feel a little more comfortable stopping by one. To find a local establishment, you can start by Googling “find a smoke shop near me” or something similar, then check out their reviews. Any information you’d like to know ahead of time can usually be found online pretty easily. If you’re still not sure, don’t be afraid to ask. Just let the owners know you’re on the up-and-up and looking for straightforward answers. Most of all, enjoy it! You’re in new territory, after all.