E-cigarettes are something that many people around the world use every day, but have you ever considered where they come from? While knowing the humble beginnings of vaping is not essential to using the devices, it does give you some understanding of the process.
The Initial Idea
The first complete design for an e-cigarette was created by Herbert A Gilbert in 1963. The design used steam instead of vapor and did not originally contain nicotine, but it was patented and a prototype was created. However, the device did not receive the same attention as its modern counterparts and was never sent for commercial production.
The terms vaping was first used during the 1970’s. The creation of the term has been attributed to the creators of non-electronic, smokeless cigarettes as they tried to market their device on TV.
The 2001 Reboot
The 1980’s and 1990’s saw a quiet time for the development and production of e-cigarettes, but there was a reboot in 2001. The Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik started to work on the modern e-cigarette at this time. The primary difference between his initial design and what is available now is that the initial design was powered by ultrasonic technology instead of the battery powered heating elements seen today.
The initial design was also made using 3 parts and there were no Open System e-cigarettes. Hon Lik also looked at the creation of the e-liquid for his device. To create the liquid he experimented with various fluids that were able to produce vapor and hold nicotine.
It was only in 2003 that the design was patented and the devices were introduced to the Chinese market in 2004. The device was known as the e-cigar and quickly found a large following in China. Alternative versions of the initial design were created and sold in the US by small companies over the internet.
Innovation And Expansion
Europe and the United States soon heard about the success of the e-cigarette and by the end of 2007 e-cigarettes were available in both markets. The early adopters of the devices started to look at innovation and the cartomizer was invented by brothers Tariq and Umer Sheikh. Unlike other designs, the cartomizer created had a heating element within the e-liquid store. This enabled users to manually refill the cartridge instead of having to constantly replace it with a new one.
This single innovation allows for the further development of Open System e-cigarettes and led to the 2009 development of the clearomiser. This device was a hit as it allowed those using the device to monitor the amount of liquid in their device. While this component was originally disposable, it was soon redeveloped to be used more than once.
There were many passing trends in e-cigarettes when they first gained popularity. However, the overall popularity of the devices continued to grow with manufacturers and sellers increasing in number.
The E-Cigarette Regulations
In the beginning, there were no regulations on these devices, but by 2010 there was an increasing amount in place that restricted the use and sale of e-cigarettes. Certain countries such as Australia banned these devices while other countries introduced regulations to protect consumers from badly made products. Two-thirds of large countries had some form of legislation in place by 2015.
In the first half of 2016, the EU Tobacco Products Directive came into effect and they put restrictions on the amount of nicotine allowed in e-liquids and cartridges were not allowed to hold more than 10ml of liquid. The UK has no official legislation in regards to e-cigarettes and where they can be used. However, many organizations have created their own regulations on the use of these devices.
The Future State Of E-Cigarettes
The popularity of e-cigarettes is still increasing and studies show that in 2014 the number of people in the UK who have tried these devices rose from 8.9% to 15.5%. There are also over 10 million people vaping in the EU. The e-cigarette industry is also continuously growing with analysts predicting that the market could be worth over $50 billion by 2025.
The journey of the e-cigarette is far from over, but it is clear that there has been a long journey from the time these devices were first developed on the 1960’s. Before the turn of the century, it would have been hard to believe that these devices would be as widely used as they are now. This is only set to increase as new inventions and innovations come about.