Believe it or not, vaping has a long history behind it. Here’s the full story, spanning back to the 1960’s.

Although vaping has been a relatively new phenomenon, the history of it has spanned far into the past. This is no surprise, the technology needed many years to gestate and get to the point at which it currently stands. The shapes, sizes and circuitry may have changed but the devices themselves have been around for a long time. Although you may imagine that the beginning of the vape craze may have started in a corporate laboratory somewhere, this couldn’t be further from the truth, the story being one far more personal and tumultuous than one would expect.

Millenia old echoes of the vape devices

Vaping, or the basic idea behind it, has spanned back millennia. The first ruminations of vaping came from Ancient Egypt, where citizens would inhale the vapour of herbs by heating it up on stones with water. Then, a few centuries later even more organised versions of the vape became apparent in the introduction of shisha and hookah pipes in India and the Middle East. Shisha pipes are still popular, but unlike vape devices, use fire to heat water as opposed to electricity. The idea of heating water to inhale nicotine is still the same principle however.

Herbert Gilbert’s first device

Way back in 1963, Herbert A. Gilbert, a Korean War veteran patented the first ever electronic cigarette. Using a primitive form of what is now known as the e-cig, Gilberts invention used “smokeless non-tobacco” which was heated to replace smoke with “heated, moist, flavoured air”. Back in mid-20th century, it was recorded that just over half of over 16’s were smokers. This meant that Gilbert’s invention, inspired by his father’s death from lung cancer and his only 40 a day habit, went unnoticed despite being patented in 1965.

Despite efforts in the 1980’s from Phil Ray and Norman Jacobson to promote e-cigarettes, and various companies attempting to patent them in the 90’s, the device didn’t kick off until the early noughties.

Hon Lik and the modern E Cig

A Chinese pharmacist named Hon Lik patented the first of what would become the modern vape device in 2003. This device was picked up by his company, Golden Dragon Holdings and became known as Ruyan, or “like smoke.” Since then, the device kicked off and throughout the noughties, started selling in the USA and Europe, many derivatives of Hon Lik’s original device become widely available. It was in this period that the device exploded in popularity.

Regulation and laws

Laws and regulations finally caught up with vaping. As Vape Liquid sales begun to rise, so did laws prohibiting its sale and use in certain countries. For instance, Turkey took the helm for the first law prohibiting vape devices. Their health ministry suspended the sale of e-cigarettes due to faulty claims of their being equally dangerous to standard cigarettes. Despite Turkey and many other countries being very cautious about e-cigarettes, the World Health Organisation legitimised vaping in September 2008 as a smoking cessation tool. Since then, more and more research has come to light which has shown the benefits of vaping, whilst it has become regulated under recent TPD laws. One recent piece of evidence has come in the form of Cancer Research UK promoting vaping as a far safer alternative to smoking.

What the future holds

With vaping on the rise there has been a concern that with smoking giants like Phillip Morris International investing in smoke free alternatives like heat not burn devices, that the market place will begin to change. Despite worries of the loss of the independent vape retailer, there is still lots to look forward to in the vaping world, as new evidence mounts in favour of it and more and more innovations come to light, lifting the very nature of what the vape device can mean for society as a whole.

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