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Electronic Cigarette and its History

28th October 2013

Much has been said about Electronic Cigarettes. How they are a better alternative to normal cigarettes to the debate over their legal status; we have been reading, talking and following all about ecigs.

Celebrities have been recently caught smoking electronic cigarettes and that has pumped up their popularity even more. Big names like Johnny Depp, Britney Spears, Leonardo Di Caprio, Lindsay Lohan, Robert Pattinson and others have been seen using an electronic cigarette over the normal ones. Firstly, you don't need a match to smoke an ecig as it is battery operated. The atomiser inside the ecig chamber vaporises the liquid nicotine into an aerosol mist and this function is activated when you inhale or 'take a puff'. Secondly, when you smoke an ecig, it looks and feels like you are smoking a tobacco filled cigarette, with the only difference it doesn't create smoke, but vapour. Thirdly, there is no cigarette butt, no smoke, no ash, no lingering odours after you finish an ecig and you can choose a flavour and strength of your choice.

According to the latest statistics, currently 1.3million Britons are using ecigs and the sales of these are going to increase by £130million by the end of year 2015. If these figures surprise you, then you will be more surprised to know that these ecigs were invented a long time ago, in the 1960s. Going back to the history of ecigs, in 1963, Herbert Gilbert patented a device which was described as a 'smokeless non-tobacco cigarette' that involved 'replacing burning tobacco and paper with heated, moist, flavoured air'. This device used to heat up the nicotine solution and produce steam. In 1967, many companies approached Gilbert in order to commercially start the production but failed and his product fell into obscurity after 1967. However, it deserves a mention as the earliest patent for an ecig.
In recent times, a Chinese pharmacist, Hon Lik is widely credited with the invention of the first generation ecig. He used piezoelectric ultrasound-emitting element to vaporise a pressurized jet of liquid containing nicotine diluted in a propylene glycol solution. This design produced a smoke like vapour that can be inhaled and provided a vehicle for nicotine delivery into the bloodstream via the lungs. The first ecig was back in 2003 and the following year, in May 2004 it was first introduced in the Chinese domestic market and since then, it has been manufactured, sold and used worldwide. The electronic cigarette received its first international patent in 2007.