A History of the Electronic Cigarette Year by Year

It seems like electronic cigarette are everywhere in Australia. Do you know much about this useful little device? We thought not! Here’s a quick overview of the rocky road that brought us to the e-cig we know today.

1963- The rise of the first electronic cigarette.

No, they’re not as modern as you may think! 1963 saw Mr H Gilbert apply for a patent for a vaporizing tobacco device. Alas, it never went further than that, and the electronic cigarette idea he had withered away from the public gaze. That wasn’t the end of the idea, however. The decades between them and the introduction of the proper e-cigarette to Australia, tobacco companies tinkered with the idea of non-combustion cigarettes, and models actually were released to the market- but never saw commercial success. The taste wasn’t liked, and the idea was vetoed in general- because it would prove that normal cigarettes weren’t the safest!

2000- A dream takes root.

It’s hardly surprising that the invention of the e-cigarette can be attributed to a country fast dominating the innovations market.  Hon Lik, a pharmacist and a smoker himself, lost his father to lung cancer. He reports having a dream in which he was drowning, only for the sea to turn to vapour, and it inspired him to look for an electronic, vaporous based way to deliver nicotine to smokers.

2004- The dream rises.

His methodology finally worked out in 2004, and the first true electronic cigarette was born. With his company, Golden Dragon Holdings, he filed a patent application and later that year the device hit the Chinese market.

2005-2006: World Takeover.

Now known as Ruyan, the electronic cigarette saw import into the European market, with US exports following close on their heels. Although initial markets were small and it was mostly seen as a novelty gift, an impression was being made. 2007 saw the device continue to wallow away without notice- even from the FDA.

2008: The world REALLY notices the e-cigarette.

2008 saw a surge of interest in the product. More and more companies were introducing their own version of the product to the market. Design adaptations- credited to Dr Yunqiang Xiu by some- were introduced, allowing the device to be heated by an element instead of the previous piezo electric element. It also saw anti-electronic cigarette movements begin to rise. The World Health Organization insisted that manufacturers cease advertising the devices as ‘WHO approved’, given that there was not enough research into the safety and efficacy claims. The FDA was more vicious, declaring it an unapproved medical device and seizing incoming shipments from china.

2009-2010: Lawsuits and more Lawsuits.

Naturally, this led to retaliation from e-cigarette companies worldwide. Smoking Everywhere, the brand owned by Sottera, filed suits against the FDA about the seizures. The FDA tried to claim there were dangerous chemicals present in the products. National bans occurred.

2011-2012: Science comes to the party.

However, 2011 saw actual research into the electronic cigarette products, and began to endorse the e-cig as a way to get free of conventional smoking. The FDA was forced to compromise their hard stance, and in general they were accepted as a harm reduction method regarding smoking. 2012 saw the first proper studies coming out, as well as a great market diversification. The WHO, however, decided to attack the electronic cigarette for one rather stupid reason- it made smoking ‘look cool’. Among other ridiculous lawsuits, these actions continue.

Despite the opposition and the ban in electronic cigarette Perth Western Australia, it continues to do incredibly well on the Australian market, and harm-reduction advocates back the product as a great way to get off the harm of proper cigarettes.