A Look At The History Of Electronic Cigarettes
Despite being relatively new to the global market electronic cigarettes have indeed been around for some time. Being a young market the technology is constantly advancing of course and so it is safe to say that what is already an amazingly enjoyable experience for many will continue to be so, and more.
The beauty of the modern world is that we have technology at our fingertips which opens doors previously closed, that makes it easier to achieve something and of course enhances enjoyment. The electronic cigarette does all of this as it offers a cleaner, cheaper and many report a more enjoyable smoking experience to the less advanced traditional tobacco smoking habit.
The Original Idea
The first recorded instance of an individual having designed an e cig device was a gentleman called Herbert A Gilbert. Back in 1963 Gilbert filed a patent on his electronic cigarette design however unfortunately the idea didn’t take off. Many now suspect that while Gilbert could clearly see the benefits of e smoking and perhaps the negatives associated with tobacco smoking many others weren’t as enlightened.
In the sixties and in fact up until ten years ago smoking was commonplace and took place everywhere from doctor office waiting rooms, on aeroplanes, other public transports and of course in cafes, restaurants and public houses. A shift in attitudes toward smoking, a better understanding of the risks surrounding tobacco smoking and more advanced technology were simply not tools that Gilbert had to hand at the time.
2003 Brings Electronic Cigarettes to The Fore
After his father tragically died of lung cancer a forward thinking Chinese pharmacist, a smoker himself, set about to revolutionise what was soon to become commonly known as the electronic cigarette. Han Lik’s prototype enabled smokers to enjoy the sensation of smoking without the risks specifically associated with tobacco cigarettes. With the full support of the company he worked for Lik took his design and turned it into the early version on the modern e cigarette. The company Lik worked with changed their name to Ruyan which translates to “like smoking” (as the e cig is like / is an alternative to a tobacco cigarette) and the reaction from Chinese consumers was more positive than ever could have been anticipated.
Initially enjoyed primarily in China the success of Lik’s e cigarette soon spread to numerous countries within Europe and in 2007 was adopted by the American market.
The Official Word on E Smoking
The official word to date on e smoking seems to be that there is actually no official word despite many organisations having plenty to say.
WHO (World Health Organisation)
The World Health Organisation’s actions led to a number of studies into e smoking by governments, individual companies and interested parties being commissioned when they assessed e smoking themselves. WHO have to date not officially deemed e cigarettes as being safe (and have not deemed them unsafe either) however did ban them as being officially named as being a device used for help people to quit smoking or a cessation device. While e smoking was not immediately given the thumbs up, and many indications show that this is due to testing not having been done over a long enough period to do so the fact that WHO didn’t report any negativities associated with e smoking was largely taken as a positive.
One study undertaken in 2008 which was funded by Ruyan (Lik’s company) and run by Health New Zealand reported that no “questionable chemicals at toxic levels” were found in any of the cigarettes tested. This study which was published late in 2008 also showed findings which indicated that e cigarettes were anywhere between one hundred times and one thousand times less hazardous to health than traditional tobacco cigarettes,
In 2009 both Canada and Australia banned electronic cigarettes. The FDA (US) also stopped electronic cigarettes from being imported into the country citing the reason that electronic cigarettes were a product that should they believed be formally registered.
A bitter fight between retailers and manufacturers and the FDA began and multiple lawsuits have been filed (mostly against the FDA). The newly formed Electronic Cigarette Association was created to champion the e cigarette cause and petition relevant bodies to ensure that any law / regulations involving e smoking was decided upon in an open, fair and informed manner.
Also in 2009 a support group for the e cigarette industry, the Consumer Advocates for Smoke Free Alternative Association was formed to again work to promote honest and fair representation of the market as well as unbiased studies and protection from unsubstantiated (untrue) claims about the industry as a whole, and its products. Many concerns about how impartial the FDA are on this issue have been raised by these groups and others given that they continue to give approval to tobacco cigarettes despite overwhelming evidence regarding the risks associated.
It is worth nothing that also in 2009 a study was released by an independent firm which reported very differently to the FDA’s claims about e smoking being dangerous.
Modern Day Electronic Cigarettes
Today the e cigarette market spans the globe and has proven more popular and certainly grown more quickly than ever anticipated back in 2003, and certainly in Gilbert’s time of 1963. The e cigarette market and the technology itself has continued to evolve making e smoking an extremely popular alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes.
Studies continue to report the benefits of e smoking over tobacco smoking, the risks of smoking tobacco products and the safety of e smoking however the governing bodies have not yet given the official “nod” of approval as yet. Headway has been made however with the UK’s television watchdog allowing e cigarettes to be seen in use on television. Retailers and manufacturers hope that soon enough scientific data will be collected over a long enough period of time to allow the industry to gain the rubber stamp they want in order to further expand and increase the number of people they may offer this highly enjoyable smoking alternative to.