The Evolution of E-Cigarettes | What’s Next?
Since medical science started to reveal the damaging side-effects of smoking, those who wanted to give up have sought out alternatives, from attempting to improve will-power through hypnotherapy to using nicotine substitutes such as patches and gums. As technology has improved and its applications have become more widespread, the advent of the e-cigarette was almost inevitable in the quest to provide a practical and enjoyable alternative to smoking.
With more and more focus on the dangers of smoking and a wealth of initiatives designed to help smokers to cut down and quit their habit, as described here the use of e-cigarettes has become more and more widespread. Smokers who have taken up ‘vaping’ often find that their addiction to traditional cigarettes is much easier to kick with the help of such an effective alternative. By providing a substitute for the physical action of smoking as well as providing a replacement for the nicotine addiction, e-cigarettes provide a uniquely effective and healthy alternative to smoking.
History of the E-Cigarettes
The early days
Although it may seem as though e-cigarettes are a relatively new invention, the first patent for a smokeless tobacco cigarette was filed in 1963 by inventor Herbert Gilbert. His concept included a removable tip which could be used to deliver different flavours, including root beer and rum according to the man himself. Although a number of companies expressed an interest in manufacturing his design, Gilbert’s product was never actually brought to market.
The idea takes shape
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, one of the earliest proponents of the computer, Phil Ray, started collaborating with physician Norman Jacobson in order to create a commercially viable e-cigarette. Their version was not actually electronic, relying as it did on the evaporation of the nicotine in order to deliver the ‘hit’.
There was some interest from retailers, but there was never a huge amount of interest in the product, and inventor Jacobson admits that their design had inherent problems which rendered it unlikely to gain a huge amount of popularity as an alternative to smoking. Although their device failed to provide a viable alternative to traditional cigarettes, Ray and Jacobson did coin the term ‘vaping’ which has now become synonymous with the practice of using an e-cigarette.
The market is identified
During the 1990s, a number of individuals and corporations, including tobacco companies, attempted to produce a simulacrum of a cigarette which would prove a suitable alternative to tobacco and meet the needs of smokers who wanted to give them up. The nicotine delivery systems were varied, including physical propulsion and more evaporation-based devices, as well as a few examples of the ‘heat not burn’ technology which is now used today.
Introduction to the E-Cigarettes
A new product for a new millennium
The idea of an electronic alternative to cigarettes didn’t really make a comeback until the year 2000, when Hon Lik, a Chinese pharmacist came up with a design for a device which was much closer to the e-cigarettes we see today. The idea was to create a device that would heat up a liquid which contained nicotine to create a vapour that could be inhaled in a similar way to regular cigarettes.
Hon Lik’s design even included the concept of using propylene glycol in the liquid, a substance that is widely used in the e-liquids made for modern e-cigarettes, and a plastic reservoir which doubled as the mouthpiece for the device.
By 2003, Hon Lik’s device was starting to hit the markets and the Chinese public was getting the first taste of device which would change the face of smoking in the following years. These early e-cigarettes focused very much on mimicking the look of a cigarette and a lot of care went into replicating the shape and size of the cigarettes that people were used to.
The intervening years have seen a number of design tweaks and many improvements in usability of modern e-cigarettes, including their adaptability and the ability for users to tailor their devices to suit their personal preferences. Vapers are now able to adjust the strength and temperature of their devices and the variety of e-liquids available means that there is a flavour to suit anyone’s tastes and preferences.