History of vaping – timeline

vaping history

It may seem like vaping has been part of our lives since forever. But not many people remember that truth to be told, the history of vaping is quite new and full of innovation. Let’s take a walk down the memory lane and learn more about the most significant milestones that have impacted the vaping industry.


Even though electronic cigarettes were introduced to the general public in the 21st century, the first attempts to create such devices date back to the 1930s. 1930 is the year when a patent for an electronic cigarette was granted to Joseph Robinson. However, besides that occurrence, nothing happened with the research, and the product was never commercialized.


The next mention of e-cigarettes emerged in 1965 when the American Herbert A. Gilbert was granted a patent for a cigarette that is “smokeless” and “non-tobacco”. He even created a prototype, but in those days, smoking wasn’t really popular, so nothing came out of the device.


During the 1990s, we witnessed other attempts focused on creating nicotine inhaler devices. There was a flurry of patents, and even companies like Philip Morris worked on these devices. However, most projects weren’t similar to modern e-cigarettes, and they used physical propulsion or evaporation. Further works in the US were disturbed by the FDA, which perceived e-cigarettes as unapproved drug delivery devices.

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The first modern electronic cigarette was invented by the 52-year-old Chinese pharmacist and smoker Hon Lik. He initially developed this device as an alternative to conventional smoking, inspired by the memory of his father who died of lung cancer. His e-cigarette looked a lot like the real one and consisted of three main elements: flavor cartridge, atomizer and battery. This particular model used ultrasonic technology which vaporized the liquid. However, most of the modern e-cigarettes implement battery-powered heating.


At the time of his discovery, Hon Lik worked for Golden Dragon Holdings, a Chinese company which developed the device even further and manufactured the first electronic cigarette in 2004 in Shenyang. The premier model was called Ruyan, which translates to “like smoke”. The device and its successors quickly gained popularity in China, a nation with around 350 million smokers. This first generation of e-cigarettes was known as ciga-likes, thanks to its resemblance to the original product.


Three years after their invention, electronic cigarettes were finally introduced to Europe and the United States. They gradually began to gain the attention of new consumers.


At first, e-cigarettes didn’t quite live up to the expectations of their users. Early devices were not the most efficient and didn’t deliver the powerful nicotine kick traditional smokers were used to. So it’s no surprise that e-cigarettes continued to evolve during the following years. One of the key moments was the invention of the cartomizer, which happened in 2007 when two Brits – Umer and Tariq Sheikh – created a mechanism that integrates the heating coil into the liquid chamber. The cartomizer consists of two pieces – a flavour cartridge and atomizer. One year later, the device was launched.


After ciga-likes came the second generation of vaping devices. Vape pens were a little larger, and thanks to their size could hold a bigger battery and atomizer. This improved overall performance of the devices and quickly inspired vapers to do their own modifications. More users started to tinker with both aesthetic and the functionality of the vaping devices and developed a true passion for modding.


Cartomizer was rather quickly replaced by a new and more advanced version – clearomizer. It was invented in 2009 and consisted of an e-liquid chamber, wicking material and an atomizer coil placed in a transparent component. Clearomizer allowed the users to see the levels of vape juices left in the tank, which was a highly beneficial feature.


Then, of course, came time for Mods, which are the third generation devices. These products use sub-ohm coils, which means that the resistance is lower than 1 ohm. As a result, the wattage of the device is higher, and it can produce more vapour as well as better flavour. It’s important to remember that there are two types of Mods – regulated and unregulated. Regulated ones possess a special chip that helps to control the electrical current. Meanwhile, unregulated mods have no such limitation and work at the user’s discretion. These types of products are intended for more experienced users who know the inner works of the device, can modify the parameters and want to control their vaping experience.


The next big event was the introduction of JUUL devices. Other companies quickly responded with their own creations, and pod systems became highly popular across the world. They are known and loved for their ease of use, portability, polished designs and delicious juice flavours.


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