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When Did Vaping Start?

by Louise W. Rice

As things stand, Vaping is among the booming markets. We have witnessed vaping significantly grow within the last decade, taking the global market by storm. This might make you wonder when did vaping start? Well, don’t be deceived by the recent developments; any vaping veteran will tell you the journey wasn’t smooth.

Today, vaping products are just a click away. Technological advancements make buying and distribution of vape products seamless. But this has not been the case. Vaping founders have spent countless hours in courts fighting various legal obstacles laid along the way. Despite the challenges, users are embracing it now in huge numbers.

Here, we take you back to where it all started and how the journey has been so far.

History of Vaping

The idea of inhaling vapor instead of smoke is not new. It’s been around for about five centuries dating back to the 16th century originating from Iran and India. E-cigarette technology which is synonymous with vaping only started at the beginning of the 20th century.

The early 1900s saw many attempts to create a better tobacco delivery system that will replace traditional cigarettes. In 1927, Joseph Robinson made the first attempt to patent his device, which he referred to as a  ‘Mechanical Butane Ignition Vaporizer.’

In his words, the new invention offered a new way of converting medicinal compounds to vapor inhaled. Although it gained approval in 1930, the device didn’t make it to the market, and the idea went dormant for a couple of years. Herbert Gilbert made another attempt to patent a different e-cigarette in the early 1960s. However, it didn’t reach the market as well.

More attempts were made in the 70s and 80s by two Americans using the same vaporization concept but with a different device. The device had many malfunctions, and the idea did not succeed. However, inventor Phil Ray, one of the pair, was the first person to come up with the word, “vape” which meant the process of inhaling the vapor.

In the US, giant tobacco companies tried to make their own devices towards the end of the 1990s, only to be shut down by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Rise of the Modern E-Cigarette

In 2003, Hon Lik – a Chinese pharmacist, came up with a device that would revolutionize vaping. For the first time, an attempt was made to create a device that would make quitting cigarette smoking easy. Hon Lik was motivated by his father’s lung cancer illness caused by many years of using cigarettes.

Hon’s invention gained traction locally and gave rise to cigalike devices that gained entry to the international markets in the late 2000s. The idea of e-cigs sparked a conversation worldwide, but it was only between 2006 and 2007 when it reached Europe and the Western markets. Many people were amazed by this technology for quitting smoking. It was considered a healthier alternative to smoking.

When Did the Vaping’s Popularity Start?

Vaporizers and e-cigs entered the mainstream media about 5 years ago. The technology advanced, making the devices more reliable, and mass production started. Their popularity can be attributed to their affordability and the belief they are a healthier ‘smoking’ alternative. Some people also took it as a hobby which further fueled its growth.

By 2010, improved vaping devices, vape pens, vape juices and mods had taken root in the market. They were compact and more effective than the initial devices. Between 2011 and 2014, the number of vapers increased by about 18 million globally. To illustrate how popular it was, the Oxford English Dictionary even named “vape,” the word of the year in 2014.

Once vaping became a common practice in the US, health concerns have come up. Some organizations argue that more studies need to determine e-cig long-term health effects. It’s a continuous fight between anti-vaping advocates and vaping advocates.

Despite the legal battles, vaping is soaring as more users are ditching tobacco smoking for e-cigarettes. As vaping products become increasingly available and awareness of their benefits spreads to the masses, we can expect the number of vapers to reach a new high. Vaping technology is also getting more advanced, trendy, and user-friendly, appealing to even more people. You can also try tobacco-free pouches if you are looking for an alternative to vaping and tobacco.


You asked where vaping came from? Now, we hope you understand that it wasn’t an overnight success. Whenever you hold your vaporizer, remember that it has taken about a century of trials and breakthroughs. The early pioneers gave the subsequent inventors a place to start, and it’s been through a series of developments that we have today’s vaping devices.

However, don’t forget that the battle isn’t over yet. It is hard to say when vaping will be approved as a safe replacement for traditional tobacco cigarettes. What we know is that lots of research and data collection are necessary before a conclusion is made. Nevertheless, vapers everywhere hope for the best for the vaping industry, which has impacted their lives in many ways.

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