Historical Timeline of the Modern E-Cigarette

For the last few years, e-cigarettes have been all the rage, extinguishing the light of tobacco that once burned so brightly. Convenience stores, supermarkets, casinos, online – e-cigarettes are everywhere. But how did e-smoking devices come to be in the first place?

Herbert Gilbert's Novel Concept

Though technically invented in 2003, the origins of e-cigarettes go all the way back to a decade one might expect: the sixties. In 1963, a man by the name of Herbert Gilbert patented an electronic cigarette device described as being smokeless and tobacco free.  He believed his device could provide a safe way for people to smoke by replacing the tobacco and paper with air that was heated, damp, and flavored.

Gilbert took his idea to the patent office, but it failed to gain any traction. Still, it was a preview of things to come.

Hon Lik Takes the Reigns

Nearly forty years after Gilbert's idea, Hon Lik, a medical researcher, wanted to find a way to break himself of the smoking habit he'd had since youth. According to media sources, Hon's concept arose from a dream he had where he was drowning in a sea of vapor. He came up with the design for his e-cigarette in 2003.

After a few years of perfecting and honing his product, sales took off. In 2006, however, media reports claimed his product to be addictive and related to heart attacks. His e-cigarette took a hit, but sales were still strong.

The following year, Hon's invention arrived in the United States. This helped the concept take off, especially in states where a public smoking ban had been enforced in public places like bars, restaurants, and horse tracks.  The Ruyan Company, which Hon founded, were the first ones to sell e-cigarettes. Ruyan sold 300,000 e-cigarettes in 2008. However, they weren't the only manufacturers.

The Changes in E-Smoking

Though Hon's original concept still remains, modern e-cigarettes differ in how they're heated. The originals used an ultrasonic atomizer for heat; new models often use a cartomizer instead. The originals were also much more limited in their flavors than the present day devices. Most e-cigarette flavors come in several different varieties (often thousands), rather than only two or three.

In the future, flavors won't be the only things that are numerous – options may be as well. Some manufacturers are experimenting with e-cigarettes that are internet-ready, allowing users to fix their own devices and track their habits.

Who knows what e-smoking might like in another forty years!

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