The first form of electronic cigarette came in 1963, from a man called Herbert A. Gilbert. He invented something that was described as a non-tobacco cigarette where a nicotine solution was heated to produce steam. Even though this is the first record of e-cigarettes, no product was manufactured.
16 years later, in 1979, Dr Norman Jacobson invented an early form of the e-cigarette called the Favor cigarette. This device gave users a way to inhale nicotine without the smoke. Dr Jacobson was also one of the people who made the word 'vaping' popular.
In the years that followed, there were no improvements or developments in electronic cigarettes, and the invention was basically ignored.
There was a good reason for this.
The stranglehold that the tobacco industry had on the mass market.
In the 60s and 70s, cigarettes were considered to be a normal part of life, they were allowed wherever with little opposition. Even the harmful side effects were ignored, while the advertising campaigns continued to grow.
The turn of the century
At the turn of the century, new lifestyle habits came about, there was a huge shift towards health and looking after the body. This meant that smoking was heavily targeted by governments with new regulations, packaging and taxes placed on it, more smokers than ever were attempting to quit and the view on cigarettes as a whole was very negative. But no one really minded because no one liked Big Tobacco.
In 2003, a pharmacist from China named Hon Lik reinvented the electronic-cigarette with an updated design, more advanced than the invention from Herbert A. Gilbert in 1963
A year later, the Ruyan (which translates to “like smoke”) company, who was also Hon Lik's employers, invested in his idea and manufactured the first modern electronic cigarette.
These cig-a-likes were an overnight hit in the Chinese market and soon found their way to neighbouring countries, then they made the big leap overseas, to Europe and the States in 2007; this is when vaping became a far bigger deal than ever before.
Surge in popularity
As e-cigs and their popularity grew, governments and regulating health agencies began to take even more of an interesting in vaping, as did the media.
From 2012 onwards, extensive and continuous research has been carried out into the effects that e-cigs have on health, both first and second hand. There were hundreds of conflicting reports, many discrediting the benefits of e-cigs, and how they are less harmful than conventional cigarettes. Despite this, large organisations, such as the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), and Public Health England (PHE), individually showed support for vaping in one way or another.
Public Health England stated in a report that electronic cigarettes are 95% less harmful than conventional ones, while the Royal College of Physicians has said to promote e-cigs as a substitute for smoking.
Regardless, e-cigs have been banned or prohibited in a number of countries in recent years. In January 2014, Chicago voted on a bill to prohibit the use of e-cigs in public places, requiring stores to keep them behind the counter. Only a month later, the European Parliament banned the advertising of e-cigs, while 28 nations of the EU decided to ban their use altogether. But it's clear what the future looks like and it's smoke-free.
For now, companies have to follow the rules set out by the TPD and FDA. In light of this, we should expect innovative ways to create the best vaping experience possible, while still complying with the regulations.
Either way, we know that the number of vapers has increased at a massive rate, and will continue to do so, as they see the benefits of vaping when compared to smoking.
We're looking at a future with more sociability and less harm.