May 24, 2024

As we can see from the shelves of many stores, Vaping is now firmly entrenched in mainstream life. But how did it start? Where did the electronic cigarette come from? In this short piece, we will chart a brief history of Vaping from its earliest ideas to the advanced devices providing many with countless hours of happiness while also providing a significant option for those looking to quit smoking.

The Early Ideas & Devices

In the 1920s, various inventors around the world were working on machines to vaporise different medical compounds with a view to helping patients with varied illnesses. Years later, these ideas evolved into the first electronic cigarette; an American, Herbert A Gilbert, applied for a patent in 1963 for a smokeless cigarette which burned tobacco with warm, moist air. Being so far ahead of its time, his invention attracted little attention and was not developed commercially. It was a further twenty years until a public company called Advanced Tobacco Products introduced a further product and named it the ‘Favor’ cigarette; this was essentially a tube containing a paper soaked in liquid nicotine which used no electricity or combustion; again, it was not a success story.

The Genesis of Modern Vaping

History credits that today’s disposable vape and vape devices spawned from the creations of a Chinese inventor called Hon Lik. In 2001 after giving up smoking, he had the idea to use a high-frequency electric element to heat a pressurised jet of liquid containing nicotine. He used resistance heating in further developments and applied for patents for his designs in 2003. They became the first commercially successful vaping device and were initially sold via the Internet. The company Hon Lik worked for was called Golden Dragon Holdings, which was granted an international patent and started to export its products in 2007. Despite their patent, their designs were extensively and illegally copied in both China and the USA.

Other Key Historical Developments

The early devices were very basic and generally did not meet users’ expectations, but further advancements in vaping technology would change this. In 2007 two British inventors brothers called, Umer and Tariq Sheikh, developed the Cartomizer, a device which integrates the heating element into the chamber containing the nicotine liquid. The majority of early vaping devices resembled a cigarette in shape, and they quickly adopted this new invention. From there, it was a short leap to replace the components of the ‘cigalike’ designs with improvements such as a longer-lasting battery or a larger tank containing a greater amount of nicotine based liquid. By 2008/9, different vaping devices were entering the marketplace with continually improving elements like the user-activation switch and variable wattage.

Initially, the world’s tobacco producers were dismissive of Vaping. Still, as the trend took hold, they moved to invest in vaping manufacturers, which drove Vaping into the billion-dollar industry you see today.

So, there you have it, a brief history of Vaping which continues to provide a significant amount of people with a viable means of giving up smoking and untold enjoyment for many others.

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