The evolution of the E-Cigarette business

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Vaping, or the use of electronic cigarettes, has become a popular practice in recent years. A preferable alternative to smoking cigarettes, these modern apparatuses have become a staple for quitting smoking and reducing lung cancer rates across the world.

Where did E-Cigarettes come from? How have they evolved to where they are now? What does the future hold? Here is a brief history outlining the evolution of the E-Cigarette business.

Humble Beginnings

Though E-Cigarettes are relatively new to the world at large, the initial patent for a smokeless cigarette was submitted in 1963 by an inventor named Herbert Gilbert. Rather than looking at a smoking alternative, Gilbert was trying to improve tobacco smokers’ experience by incorporating a moistened tip that could carry a variety of different flavors. Over the years, various companies approached Gilbert to develop his product, but no deals were ever made.

In the year 2000, the modern E-Cigarette was invented based on Gilbert’s design. Chinese pharmacist, Hon Lik, invented an electronic cigarette that heated a nicotine-based liquid. The heated liquid created a vapor that could be inhaled. During the development of the product, Hon Lik noted that propylene glycol would create optimal results for diluting the nicotine in the apparatus, which has since become the industry standard. Hon Lik went on to invent a plastic addition that acts as both a reservoir for the liquid and a mouthpiece.

Market Availability and Popularity

Hon Lik’s invention started to hit the shelves in late 2003 and early 2004, depending on the location. Unlike Gilbert’s goal, Hon Lik aimed to create a product that would eradicate the dangers associated with traditional cigarettes while acting as a method of smoking cessation. E-Cigarettes started to gain traction in the latter part of the decade and ignited controversial conversations and exponential growth.

As with any popular invention, aspiring inventors and entrepreneurs were quick to develop accessory products that would enhance the user experience while earning them a substantial income. Businesses like launched as E-Cigarettes became a buzzword, and now offer a variety of vaping kits, mods, coils, and E Liquids to create a better vaping experience.

Social Impacts

As E-Cigarettes were originally identified as a smoking cessation tool, the governments of the world were quick to start investigating the efficacy, health implications, potential pitfalls and legislature surrounding their use.

In 2009 and 2010, numerous countries banned the use of Electronic Cigarettes until more information could be compiled regarding the health implications. Retailers like Amazon followed suit, restricting the sale of electronic cigarettes. As regulatory bodies rushed to get the information it deemed necessary to allow the continued sale of E-Cigarettes, avid users who had experienced success in quitting smoking protested and hosted pro-vaping festivals and events.

Throughout 2011 onward to 2013, new studies were released about the positive health implications of using E-Cigarettes as a method of smoking cessation, focusing on comparing the negligible health impacts versus traditional smoking. Furthermore, the psychology of using E-Cigarettes was evaluated and deemed to be an effective behavioral alternative to smoking. In layman’s terms, the physical act of inhaling vapor replicated cigarette smoke enough to curb cravings.

Bans were lifted and the arduous process of creating regulations surrounding usage location and age was started.

Moving Forward

The Electronic Cigarette business totaled $11.4 billion dollars in 2016 and is expected to continue on an upward trend. It is reported that 30% of smokers in Japan have already made the switch to vaping from traditional smoking. As time goes on, regulatory practices and health studies will become more exact and informative. It is predicted that this shift from smoking traditional cigarettes to E-Cigarettes will drive down smoking-related cancers.


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