Head shops and smart shops are often used interchangeably, but they are different nevertheless. If smart shops sell psychoactive substances and are illegal in countries that have no drug paraphernalia laws, head shops (or smoke shops) are specialized in selling smoking accessories and are legal in the United States, as long as they sell no illegal substances. This is why most of these shops display signs that the accessories are exclusively for tobacco use.

In the United States, head shops appeared in the `60s and proliferated especially in cities with a numerous college population; many of them used to sell drug paraphernalia and also serve as  distribution networks for underground newspapers and comics that couldn`t find their way to the established channels of distribution.

These days, head shops typically sell water pipes and pipes, vape pens, oils and vaping juices , hookahs, rolling papers, incense, T-shirts with clever designs, cigarette lighters, psychedelic visual aids and all sort of other goodies related to this counterculture. Anything but drugs. Actually, “drugs” and other similar words can get you an immediate ejection from the shop and, in some situations, even a permanent ban. They are the perfect place to buy wholesale tobacco Colorado state and other states have available.  Even so, considering that some of these accessories can also be used for legal highs (drugs formulated to avoid concerns and current laws), head shops are still considered to operate in a rather grey legal area.