The History of the Electronic Cigarette

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 The History of the Electronic Cigarette

 The History of the Electronic CigaretteMy best friend is a smoker and, as she lights up, she often says, “They have invented everything else. Why can’t they come up with a healthy cigarette?”  When we finally found out about electronic cigarettes, we were both shocked.  While e-cigarettes may not be healthy, they are certainly a much better alternative to the carcinogenic shock that a tobacco cigarette brings to the body.  The reason for our shock about e-cigs wasn’t because they are so intelligently designed or such a great idea.  Our shock was because they have been around for over 50 years and just now are hitting the market.

 

The first patent for an electronic cigarette was taken out in 1963 by a man named Herbert Gilbert. His description of the smokeless cigarette is very similar to those which are being marketed today.  The “cigarette” would not contain tobacco and would not burn paper or other substances.  Instead, it would heat flavored, moist air.  However, technology was not the same in 1963 as it is today so the device never got developed.  It is safe to assume though that the device could have easily been made had an investor been ready to back the development.  Since the tobacco industry was so large and powerful back then, it isn’t surprising that no one wanted to back a tobacco-alternative product.

 

It wasn’t until 2003 that consumers got their first smokeless non-cigarette (it isn’t appropriate to call e-cigarettes cigarettes as they do not actually burn anything). This first electronic cigarette was made by a Chinese pharmacist named Hon Lik.  The e-cig was called Ruyan, which means “to resemble smoking.” In 2005, the electronic cigarette began to be distributed around the world and it was internationally patented in 2007.

 

 The History of the Electronic CigaretteIn today’s modern times, we are well aware of the dangers of smoking, especially addiction. So it is no surprise that the e-cigarette met some harsh restrictions.  In the US, it was banned by the FDA in 2009, though this ban was later overturned in 2010.  In Australia, most territories prohibit the importing of electronic cigarettes, such as e-cigs bought online. Throughout the world, e-cigarettes are generally legal, though they are typically classified in the same way as tobacco products – even the electronic cigarettes without nicotine.  This can make it very difficult for consumers to buy electronic cigarettes.  Since advertising of electronic cigarettes is also highly regulated or banned, it can be difficult to get accurate information about the products.

 

While the number of tobacco smokers still far outweighs the number of e-cig smokers, we can surely expect this to change.  All over the western world, smoking is being banned and the prices of cigarettes are increasing, making smokeless e-cigs a better choice. Most electronic cigarettes may not be healthy, but they are certainly better than the standard tobacco cigarette.  Plus, newer technology may aid in the design of a completely safe e-cigarette in the future.

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