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The History of Vaping

August 28, 2021 5 min read

What is the History of Vaping? Glad You Asked

Welcome to today’s discussion on the history of vaping! We’re going to take you on a vaping journey through history to have a look to how it developed both worldwide and in the UK. We all know that vaping in the UK took off massively over the last 10 years, but where did it all start? And how did vaping develop through time?

 

 

Ancient Egypt

 

You may initially think of the history of Vaping as a relatively modern phenomenon worldwide since around the 1920s and in the UK only a very recent history over the last 20 years. But did you know that the history of vaping can actually be traced back to ancient Egypt? Although different to the vaping that we know today, the ancient Egyptians used to use hot stones to eat oils and herbs and inhale the vapours. The technology was not there of course, but the concept is the same!

 

 

1920s New York - Joseph Robinson

 

Most people understand the origin of the history of vaping to be traced back to 1920s New York, to a man named Joseph Robinson. In 1927 Joseph Robinson filed a patent for an electric vaporiser. They granted the patent, but it was never actually manufactured! However, the vaporiser that we know today is not all that dissimilar to the original 1927 design.

 

 

1960s - Herbert Gillbert

 

Let’s fast forward now to the 1960s, when a man called Herbert Gillbert patented the ‘smokeless non-tobacco cigarette’. Many people in the vaping industry hail Herbert as the founding father or creator of vaping. The challenge of technology and high competition from the cigarette manufacturing companies made it difficult for Herbert Gillbert to get his smokeless non-tobacco cigarette off the ground. They were heavy and bulky and battery power didn’t work as well as it does today.

 

 

1980s - Phil Ray

 

Taking vaping through into the 80s was technology pioneer Phil Ray. Working with his personal doctor, Norman Jacobson, he created an electronic cigarette device in 1979. However, it relied on the evaporation of nicotine and at the time was considered a flop. So he came up with the term vaping as a concept to avoid their product being referred to as a smoking product.

 

 

2000s - Hon Lik

 

Medical researcher Hon Lik was a medical researcher famous for developing the first truly modern electronic cigarette in Beijing, China in 2003. He wanted to design something to help him to quit smoking, which he was struggling with since his fathers death. The device that Lik designed was made up of an ultrasonic atomiser, plastic cartridge and battery. The high frequency piezoelectric device was used to enable a coil of wire to heat a nicotine containing liquid. The vapours could then be inhaled and exhaled in a way that replicated smoking.

 

 

Then, in 2006, the first e-cigarette became available to the public.

 

 

2009

 

The period around 2009 was a challenging one for vaping. There were concerns about the health risks from vaping and it hadn’t been fully compared to smoking Cigarettes. People were cautious and the industry was suffering. In 2009 vaping was banned by several countries around the world including Hong Kong, Canada, Australia, Jordan and Brazil.

 

 

2010-2020

 

In 2010 vaping events started to emerge in the UK and USA including the first ‘Vapefest’. In 2011 BMC Public Health suggested an e-cigarette as a potential harm reduction tool following the first e-cigarette clinical trials.

 

 

2015 was a turning point for Vaping because in August that year Public Health England released the landmark review that confirmed e-Cigarettes to be significantly less harmful than smoking (in fact, 95% safer). This boosted public opinion of vaping and fuelled the UK vaping boom.

 

 

In 2016 the TPD came into effect in the EU, which regulates the tobacco industry. TPD stands for Tobacco Products Directive. Although mainly focussed on cigarettes and tobacco, the TPD also deals with e-cigarettes.

 

 

In 2019 the number of vapers continue to grow, with half as many people in the UK vaping as smoking. Over half of the UK’s papers are ex-smokers who have used vaping as a stepping stone to help them to quit.

 

 

In 2020 the World Health Organisation (WHO) released new warnings about vaping. There was a massive backlash, particularly from public health officials who described the position of WHO as malign and maintained that vaping is still 95% safer than smoking.

 

 

Vaping Regulations

 

Article 20 of the TPD has become the basis of today’s UK vape laws and regulations. In the UK, we have one of the best regulated vaping industries in the world. Although there is some fine print, the main aspects of the regulations are that e-cigarettes cannot be sold to the under-18s or bought for someone under 18 by an adult. Marketing e-cigarettes is limited, and all UK e-cigarettes must be produced to a certain quality and safety standard.

 

 

How Popular is Vaping now?

 

According to the Vaping in England: 2021 Evidence Update Summary, about 6% of UK adults vape, which is approximately 2.7 million people. The number of smokers in England continues to fall. There are currently around 6 to 7 million people. Studies show that smoking is more common in disadvantaged groups and is on the decline in the UK.

 

 

Electronic cigarettes have been shown to be the most effective nicotine replacement therapy that you can get, with better results than lozenges, gum or nicotine patches. Therefore there is a massive uptake in vaping from ex-smokers who want to reduce their nicotine intake and eventually quit.

 

 

The Future of Vaping

 

With the positive uptake of Vaping in the UK and other countries around the world, and the developments within the industry in both vaping kits and e-liquids, the future of vaping is looking rosy. It’s a dynamic and exciting market.

 

 

There are many thriving online forums such as ‘Planet of the Vapes’. There are many Vape events and shows around the world such as Vapexpo, Vape Jam and the World Vape show in Dubai. Although many of these have been cancelled or switched to online during the Covid-19 pandemic, we hope that they will be starting up again face-to-face soon.

 

 

Here at the Vape House, we are always working with the best manufacturers for new vaping kits and technology and bringing you the newest and most popular vape juices. If you need any further information about the history of vaping or the practical element to vaping, please get in touch - we would be happy to hear from you.

 

 

Meanwhile, get your vape on!

 

 

Alun Havard
Alun Havard


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