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The History of Vaping

August 08, 2018

The History of Vaping

-Authored by Randi Sprintis

Whenever a new trend takes over, many people will wonder how it all began. If you’re new to vaping, this question inevitably crosses your mind. When you have a satisfying and relaxing pastime, such as vaping, you might wonder why we weren’t doing this ages ago. That’s why we decided to look into the history of vaping to show you the evolution of the e-cigarette, who the big players were way back in the beginning of the vape world, and how this industry has developed over time.

Earliest Origins

While there are a few key figures in modern history that can take credit for the birth and development of vaping as we know it, the concept of vaping can be traced back to Ancient Egypt. Hot stones were used to warm herbs and it would produce a vapor they would inhale and use for healing. In India around the 15th century, there was the creation of the hookah, often called the shisha, which we could say is a close relative to the e-cigarette. When smoking hookah, the tobacco would pass through a water basin giving it a similar effect of vaping. So while it’s difficult to narrow down the exact date that vaping began, there were many comparable practices throughout history that can we can attribute to its creation.

The First E-Cigarette

When it comes to the e-cigarette we know and love today, there are three people that you can point to throughout the 20th century that can legitimately claim credit for its development. First, there was Joseph Robinson in 1927 who first patented the idea of an electronic vaporizer . While it was never actually made or distributed, the design clearly pointed to an e-cigarette. The idea of vaporizing substances, such as herbs, cannabis, or tobacco, instead of burning them was the primary focus of this invention. Then you have Herbert A. Gilbert who filed a patent for a smokeless non-tobacco cigarette in 1963.

Two years later the patent was published, but the device was never mass produced or sold commercially. However, many vaping devotees will give credit to Gilbert for being the renaissance man of the vaping community. Lastly and most recently, there’s Hon Lik. Hon Lik is a Chinese pharmacist who was a very heavy smoker. Hon was tragically hit by the death of his father, who lost his battle with lung cancer. This motivated him to create the first e-cigarette, which as we know today is wildly successful. Hon Lik will often give credit to his predecessors in the field who paved the way for his prototype.

Vaping Today

The early designs of the e-cigarette laid the foundation for the innovation and variety in the devices we see today. Of course, there have been many advances in the different elements of the device. For instance, Hon Lik used an ultrasonic atomizer in his e-cigarette, but most devices today use battery powered atomizers. The innovation and transformation of the device itself has drastically changed and will continue to develop. Each device transforms and helps to create the latest version of itself.

We’ve not only seen an advancement in the tools and tech used in vape devices, we’ve also seen amazing developments in e-juice or e-liquid flavors. This all began with basic fruit or herbal flavors but has morphed into incredible fusions that will excite the most sophisticated palate. It’s clear that the major companies and vape distributors of today will continue to conduct research, grow, and change the industry for years to come.


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