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E Cigarette History

People have been smoking tobacco for centuries, with nicotine as a core element of that. Since the 1950s people have been realised the significant negative health effects of smoking tobacco and have been look at alternative means of obtaining that nicotine. There is huge range of ways to take nicotine, some of them as a means to aid quitting cigarettes and others purely as a nicotine mechanism in their own right. E Cigarettes are a relatively new invention coming long after the likes of nicotine gum and patches. The idea for nicotine inhalation methods has existed for quite a while. A patent in the 1960s is the first step in e cigarette history. However nothing came of that patent. It was not until the 1990s when modern inhalation methods arose. However these methods were simply nicotine delivery devices and did not include any analogue to the mouth feel, throat hit or flavour of tobacco cigarettes.

It was not until the early 2000s that a system was developed that had a similar feel on the mouth, throat and in taste as tobacco cigarettes. Hon Lik was an avid smoker, often going through multiple packs a day. His father too was a smoker, a smoker who died of lung cancer. After his father’s death Hon Lik gave up smoking but was still enamoured with the practice and idea around smoking. As a pharmacist himself he hypothesised a way to deliver the nicotine, with the same feeling on your throat and a similar taste in your mouth as tobacco cigarettes but without having to burn tobacco and the associated carcinogenic smoke. In 2003 Lik patented a device that achieved this and the e cigarette was born.

The e cigarette is a relatively simple system, a liquid is heated, vaporised and inhaled. Hon Lik used propylene glycol, a liquid that could contain the nicotine which is then heated via a battery in the e cigarette device. When the liquid is heated it turns into a vapour and that is what gives a feeling similar to smoke on your throat. This feeling is the key to success with the e cigarette. Never before had a system based on the traditional tobacco cigarette involved a method that could be considered similar to the sensory effect of traditional tobacco cigarette smoking.

The effect of the vapour as an alternative to smoke should not be underestimated. A study found that e cigarettes did not have a significant effect on reducing nicotine cravings. What the study put forward was that the psychological effect of the vapour as an alternative to smoke was far more significant for people who were switching from traditional tobacco cigarettes to e cigarettes. The nicotine was much less of a factor than the same feeling brought on from the vapour. This is particularly significant and ties into e cigarette liquids being available that do not contain nicotine.

Hon Lik’s invention is particularly impressive considering many do not view it as an alternative to cigarettes or a replacement. Rather people view e cigarettes as something to be enjoyed purely in themselves. Many are finding that e cigarettes are an enjoyable pastime that opens a new world of pleasurable consumption, with or without nicotine.