Headshops vs. Smokeshops: Exploring the Differences and Similarities

In the world of smoking accessories and paraphernalia, two common terms often come up - headshops and smokeshops. Both cater to the needs of smokers, providing a wide range of products, but what sets them apart? In this blog, we'll delve into the distinctions and similarities between headshops and smokeshops, helping you understand where to find the products you seek.

Definition and Purpose


store front of an older headshop

A head shop is a retail store that specializes in selling products related to smoking and cannabis culture. These shops typically offer a wide variety of smoking accessories, including but not limited to pipes, bongs, vaporizers, rolling papers, grinders, and other paraphernalia. While some head shops may also sell tobacco-related products, many focus on items associated with the consumption of cannabis and other herbal substances.

In addition to smoking accessories, head shops may offer products such as herbal blends, incense, candles, and various novelty items related to counterculture and alternative lifestyles. Some head shops also provide information and educational materials about the safe and responsible use of their products.

Over the years, head shops have evolved from being primarily associated with cannabis and drug paraphernalia to becoming more mainstream and catering to a broader range of customers interested in alternative smoking experiences and lifestyle products. It's important to note that the legality of the products sold in head shops varies by region and depends on local laws and regulations.


smoke shops traditionally for tobacco

A smokeshop, also known as a smoke shop or a tobacco shop, is a retail store that offers a wide range of smoking products and accessories. Originally, smokeshops primarily focused on selling tobacco-related items such as cigarettes, cigars, and loose tobacco. However, as smoking culture evolved and new smoking trends emerged, smokeshops adapted their inventory to include various products such as glass pipes, water pipes (bongs), hand pipes, hookahs, vaping devices, rolling papers, and herbal incense.

Today, smokeshops serve as go-to destinations for smokers and vapers alike, providing a wide array of products to meet different smoking preferences and needs while adhering to regional laws and regulations.



The counterculture movements of the 1960s, marked by social and cultural upheavals, advocated for personal freedom, experimentation, and alternative lifestyles. This included the exploration of mind-altering substances and a shift in attitudes toward tobacco and cannabis. As a result, shops began to cater to this growing demand for smoking accessories and paraphernalia.

The term "headshop" itself is thought to be a play on words, with "head" referring to a person's mind and its altered states, often associated with drug use, and "shop" signifying a retail space. Headshops became places not only to buy smoking accessories but also to foster a sense of community among like-minded individuals who were exploring alternative lifestyles and seeking to expand their consciousness.


The concept of smokeshops, or places specializing in selling smoking-related products, has been around for centuries, with historical evidence suggesting their existence in various cultures throughout different periods of time. However, it is challenging to pinpoint an exact date for the first appearance of smokeshops due to the lack of comprehensive historical records and the gradual evolution of the smoking culture.

In the context of Western societies, tobacco and smoking accessories became more widespread in the 17th and 18th centuries after tobacco was introduced to Europe from the Americas. As tobacco use grew in popularity, shops dedicated to selling tobacco products and smoking accessories began to emerge. By the 19th century, tobacco shops were commonly found in many European and American cities.

In the United States, the rise of smokeshops accelerated during the 20th century with the increasing popularity of cigarettes and cigars. As smoking became a mainstream activity, specialty shops dedicated to selling tobacco products and related accessories, including pipes and lighters, became more prevalent

Product Selection

Smokeshops and headshops offer different ranges of products, although there can be some overlap. Here are the primary differences in the products you can find at each type of store:


products found in a smokeshop

Tobacco Products: Smokeshops usually offer a wide variety of traditional tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, pipe tobacco, and loose tobacco for rolling.

Vaping Products: Smokeshops commonly carry vaping devices like e-cigarettes, vape pens, vape mods, and a range of vape juices (e-liquids) in various flavors and nicotine strengths.

Hookah Accessories: You can find hookahs, hookah tobacco (shisha), and related accessories like charcoal and hoses in smokeshops.

Herbal Incense and Aromatherapy: Some smokeshops sell herbal incense and aromatherapy products, which are often used for relaxation and mood enhancement.

Kratom and Herbal Remedies: Some smokeshops carry herbal remedies like kratom, which is a plant-based supplement known for potential mood-altering effects and pain relief.


products you can find at a headshop

Glassware: Headshops specialize in unique and artistic glass pipes, water pipes (bongs), bubblers, chillums, and other intricate smoking devices.

Vaporizers: You'll find a wide selection of vaporizers designed for both dry herbs and concentrates, offering a smokeless way to consume herbs.

Rolling and Smoking Accessories: Headshops often have a broad range of rolling papers, blunt wraps, herb grinders, and other tools used for preparing and consuming smoking herbs.

Collectible Items: Some headshops offer high-quality, hand-blown glass art pieces that are not only functional smoking devices but also considered collectible art.

Alternative Smoking Accessories: Headshops may carry items like one-hitters, dugouts, and unique smoking gadgets designed to provide a distinctive smoking experience.

Cannabis-Related Accessories: In regions where cannabis is legal, headshops may provide accessories specifically tailored for cannabis consumption, such as specialized pipes or storage containers.

While smokeshops tend to offer a broader range of products to cater to a diverse clientele, headshops often focus on providing unique and specialized smoking devices and accessories that cater to enthusiasts seeking a more distinctive and artistic smoking experience.


cbd can be found in smokeshops and headshops

You can find CBD products at both headshops and smokeshops, depending on the specific shop and its product offerings. As the popularity of CBD has grown and its legal status has become more established in many regions, both types of stores have started to carry CBD-infused products to meet the demands of their customers.


Many headshops have expanded their product selection to include CBD products, recognizing the interest of their clientele in alternative smoking and wellness options. In headshops, you might find CBD oils, tinctures, gummies, vape cartridges, and other CBD-infused items.


Similarly, smokeshops often carry CBD products as part of their diverse inventory. CBD's potential health benefits and its association with relaxation make it a natural fit for the relaxed and open atmosphere often found in smokeshops.

It's important to note that the availability of CBD products in these stores can vary based on regional laws and regulations. In areas where CBD is legal and well-regulated, you're more likely to find a wider selection of CBD products. Always ensure that you are purchasing high-quality CBD products from reputable sources, and be aware of the legal status of CBD in your region.

At a Smokeshop, or Headshop, Near You

stelo and ari53 by e1011 labs

Those looking for high-quality CBD products that can be purchased at a headshop or smokeshop should keep an eye out for E1011 Labs products. Our sleek, heat-not-burn elon® device is the perfect accessory to pick up for those who enjoy whole flower consumption. The device uses innovative technology to quickly heat the flower in our stelo™ to the optimal temperature for inhalation. 

Our stelo™ are prefilled, predosed flower pods that easily insert, arrow side down, into the top of the elon device. Users can pick up a stylishly packaged 10 count or opp for a colorful, eye-catching tin when they purchase a 20 count of stelo. Along with our stelo, we have our Ari53™ line. Our Ari53 come prefilled and predosed like the stelo, but with the addition of infused flower for an extra kick. 

If your local shop ever runs out of product or you’re having trouble with your device, you can always check out our website for deals or to talk to an E1011 Labs team member. To secure an elon or pack of stelo or Ari53 near you, check out our store locator to find us at a shop near you!


In conclusion, while both headshops and smokeshops cater to the needs of smokers and offer a variety of smoking accessories, they differ in their specific product focus, atmosphere, and clientele. Headshops tend to have a niche focus on tobacco, cannabis, and other herb-related items, with a laid-back counterculture atmosphere. On the other hand, smokeshops provide a more diverse array of products, including e-cigarettes, vape juices, and herbal remedies, aiming to cater to a broader customer base.

When deciding where to shop for smoking accessories, it ultimately comes down to personal preference and the specific items you're seeking. Whether you prefer the niche selection and counterculture atmosphere of a headshop or the wide variety of products offered at a smokeshop, both places have something to offer for every smoking enthusiast. Always remember to stay informed about local laws and regulations to ensure you're purchasing products in a legal and responsible manner. Happy smoking!