The Story of Vaping: Past, Present and Future
Find out where it all started for digital cigarettes and where it might be
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…
Okay, well actually people haven't been vaping for very long, and our small planet is the only place
in the universe where it happens (as far as we know). But for an outsider, digital
cigarettes can sometimes look like a prop from a science fiction movie. With their sleek,
futuristic designs and cutting-edge technology, it's easy to imagine Han Solo casually vaping in the
Mos Eisley cantina, or Captain Kirk grabbing his digital cig onboard the starship Enterprise (as
Spoc looks over and says, "It's only logical").
But the story of how digital cigarettes became the world's most
popular smoking alternative is no fictional fable. Keep reading to discover the true (and concise)
history of vaping…
One Man's Great Idea, but Poor Timing…
The origins of the digital cigarette can be traced all the way back to 1963, to a man named Herbert
A. Gilbert. At that time, Herbert patented
a device he described as "a smokeless non-tobacco cigarette" that could "provide a safe and harmless
means for and method of smoking by replacing burning tobacco and paper with heated, moist, flavored
Herbert went so far as to design prototypes of his concept – however, the devices didn't take off. In
a recent interview, Herbert reflected, "Timing can be everything and I was ahead
of my time, and in the midst of what some might say was the most powerful advertising period of big
Hon Lik: Father of Modern Vaping
The timing wouldn't be right for another forty years, until a Chinese pharmacist named Hon Lik
invented the first nicotine-based digital cigarette in 2003.
Hon, like his father, was a pack-a-day smoker, but he vowed to rid himself of this terrible habit
once and for all after his father died of lung cancer. After failing with nicotine patches and other
cessation methods, he happened upon a dream-inspired idea that would later morph into the modern
One year after he completed his invention, Hon Lik started a manufacturing company—which he called
Ruyan, for "like smoke"—and began selling his invention in China first, then internationally. Vaping
quickly spread westward, becoming popular throughout Asia and Europe. In 2007, the idea finally
crossed the Atlantic and took root in the United States. The rest, as they say, is history.
Vaping with a Modern Twist
Though the basic concept of the digital cigarette has pretty much stayed the same for the past
decade, modern vaping has taken on a whole new look and utilizes completely different technology
than the originals.
For one, instead of using an ultrasonic atomizer as the heating element, most mainstream devices now
feature a cartomizer—a combination of the cartridge and atomizer—or a similar version such as a
clearomizer. Another way modern vaping has evolved is the amount of e-liquid options that are
available. The first digital cigarettes only came in 2-3 flavors at most. Can you imagine? That
would get old pretty fast…
Fortunately, times have changed, and vapers can now choose from a smorgasbord of different blends.
Here at VaporFi, we provide more flavor options than anyone else – over 30,000 e-liquid
combinations and counting!
A Promising Future…
Just in the last few years, vaping has changed significantly. Vapers are buying
advanced vaping devices and "mods" that offer more battery life, customizability and features than
their cigarette look-a-like predecessors. And as the technology evolves, digital cigarettes will
improve too. It's unavoidable.
Already, some manufacturers are experimenting with "smart" digital cigarettes that come
internet-equipped, allowing you to monitor every drag and troubleshoot the device yourself. These
vaping devices of the future may also be outfitted with other high-tech gadgets, such as
microprocessors, Bluetooth, fingerprint scanners, and even gyroscopes.
Today's digital cigarettes have taken vaping well-beyond Gilbert and Hon Lik's original designs and
into a new frontier. We don't know about you, but we can't wait to see what the future has in
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center to learn more about the innovative technology that makes it all possible.