The History of E-Cigarettes

220px-Ruyan_electronic_cigar_first_generationThe earliest e-cigarette can be traced to American Herbert A. Gilbert,[1] who in 1963 patented “a smokeless non-tobacco cigarette” that involved “replacing burning tobacco and paper with heated, moist, flavored air”.This device produced flavored steam without nicotine. The patent was granted in 1965. Gilbert’s invention was ahead of its time.

There were prototypes, but it received little attention and was never commercialized because smoking was still fashionable at that time. Gilbert said in 2013 that today’s electric cigarettes follow the basic design set forth in his original patent.

Hon Lik, a Chinese pharmacist and inventor who worked as a research pharmacist for a company producing ginseng products, is credited with the invention of the modern e-cigarette. Lik quit smoking after his father, also a heavy smoker, died of lung cancer. In 2001, he thought of using a high frequency, piezoelectric ultrasound-emitting element to vaporize a pressurized jet of liquid containing nicotine. This design creates a smoke-like vapor. Lik said that using resistance heating obtained better results and the difficulty was to scale down the device to a small enough size.Lik’s invention was intended to be an alternative to smoking.

 

Hon Lik registered a patent for the modern e-cigarette design in 2003. The e-cigarette was first introduced to the Chinese domestic market in 2004. Many versions made their way to the U.S., sold mostly over the Internet by small marketing firms. E-cigarettes entered the European market and the US market in 2006 and 2007. The company that Lik worked for, Golden Dragon Holdings, registered an international patent in November 2007. The company changed its name to Ruyan (如烟, literally “Resembling smoking”) later the same month and started exporting its products. Many US and Chinese e-cig makers copied his designs illegally, so Lik has not received much financial reward for his invention (although some US manufacturers have compensated him through out of court settlements). Ruyan later changed its company name to Dragonite International Limited. Most e-cigarettes today use a battery-powered heating element rather than the earlier ultrasonic technology design.

When e-cigarettes entered the international market, some users were dissatisfied with their performance, and the e-cigarette continued to evolve from the first generation three-part device. In 2007 British entrepreneurs Umer and Tariq Sheikh invented the cartomizer. This is a mechanism that integrates the heating coil into the liquid chamber. They launched this new device in the UK in 2008 under their Gamucci brand, and the design is now widely adopted by most “cigalike” brands. Other users tinkered with various parts to produce more satisfactory homemade devices, and the hobby of “modding” was born. The first mod to replace the e-cigarette’s case to accommodate a longer-lasting battery, dubbed the “screwdriver”, was developed by Ted and Matt Rogers in 2008. Other enthusiasts built their own mods to improve functionality or aesthetics. When pictures of mods appeared at online vaping forums many people wanted them, so some mod makers produced more for sale.

The demand for customizable e-cigarettes prompted some manufacturers to produce devices with interchangeable components that could be selected by the user. In 2009, Joyetech developed the eGo series, which offered the power of the screwdriver model and a user-activated switch to a wide market. The clearomizer was invented in 2009. Originating from the cartomizer design, it contained the wicking material, an e-liquid chamber, and an atomizer coil within a single clear component. The clearomizer allows the user to monitor the liquid level in the device.Soon after the clearomizer reached the market, replaceable atomizer coils and variable voltage batteries were introduced. Clearomizers and eGo batteries became the best-selling customizable e-cigarette components in early 2012.

International tobacco companies dismissed e-cigarettes as a fad at first. However, recognizing the development of a potential new market sector that could render traditional tobacco products obsolete, they began to produce and market their own brands of e-cigarettes and acquire existing e-cigarette companies. blu eCigs, a prominent US e-cigarette manufacturer, was acquired by Lorillard Inc. in 2012. British American Tobacco was the first tobacco business to sell e-cigarettes in the UK. They launched Vype in 2013, while Imperial Tobacco‘s Fontem Ventures acquired the intellectual property owned by Hon Lik through Dragonite International Limited for $US 75 million in 2013 and launched Puritane in partnership with Boots UK. On 1 October 2013 Lorillard Inc. acquired another e-cigarette company, this time the UK based company SKYCIG. SKY was rebranded as blu. On 3 February 2014, Altria Group, Inc. acquired popular electronic cigarette brand Green Smoke for $110 million. The deal was finalized in April 2014 for $110 million with $20 million in incentive payments. Altria also markets its own e-cigarette, the MarkTen, while Reynolds American has entered the sector with its Vuse product.  Philip Morris, the world’s largest tobacco firm, purchased UK’s Nicocigs in June 2014. On 30 April 2015, Japan Tobacco bought the US Logic e-cigarette brand. Japan Tobacco also bought the UK E-Lites brand in June 2014. On 15 July 2014, Lorillard sold blu to Imperial Tobacco as part of a deal for $7.1 billion.

Regarding the cannabis market for vaporizers, one company, Vuber Technologies, has emerged as a leading brand, and is the top selling vape company in the State of Washington. The company recently announced plans to expand to other legal cannabis states, including Colorado, Oregon and California, where market experts predict that it will quickly jump to the head of the line due to its unique design, premium quality, and aggressive pricing.

For more information, visit: www.vubervaporizers.com 

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