Since around the later portion of the 1950s, society started to realize that tobacco cigarettes caused health problems. As research progressed along with increasing numbers of people that developed lung cancer, emphysema, and other smoking related illnesses, cigarette smoking has become less accepted and popular. Unfortunately, the nicotine contained in cigarettes is one of the most addictive substances on the planet and makes quitting smoking one of the hardest things to do. In 2003, Chinese pharmacist, Hon Lik invented the electronic cigarette as a safer, and cleaner way to inhale nicotine after his father, a heavy smoker, passed away from lung cancer attributed to smoking tobacco cigarettes.
Hon Lik applied for his first patent on the electronic cigarette in 2003 and subsequently introduced e cigs to the Chinese Market in the following year through his employer, Golden Dragon Holdings. Golden Dragon Holdings later changed the company name to “Ruyan” in order to better match the company’s name (Ruyan means “almost like smoke”) to the new product. Since the renaming, the Ruyan company has continued e cigarette development and grown to be one of the largest global e cig manufacturers.
Dr. Sam Han, CEO of Cixi E-CIG Technology, Inc. Ltd. Is also attributed with a number of e cig related inventions to include four patents in the United States and two in China that are electronic cigarette and e-liquid technology related. Similar to Hon Lik, Dr Han was a heavy smoker for more than 40 years before beginning work on electronic cigarette technologies in order to help himself and others make the shift to vapor smoking. Dr. Han continues to market and conduct R&D in e cig related technologies to this date.
After the successful deployment of the Ruyan and Cixi E-CIG electronic cigarettes in China and Asia, the products started to be sold in significant quantities on the Internet. UK businessman, Greg Carson, is attributed with being the first to “westernize” the e cig product relabeled as the “Electro Fag.” The product gained such popularity in the UK and Europe, that British parliament passed legislation legalizing the use of e cigs indoors and in other places that traditional smoking has become banned. Since the gain in popularity in Europe, the electronic cigarette has been introduced to the American market through a variety of distributors to include GreenSmoke, Cigana, ePuffer, and Blu e cig companies with no one individual being credited for bringing the product to the United States.
Electronic cigarettes and the U.S. FDA have had a rocky relationship since the introduction of the product to the U.S. Market. Over the later portions of the 2000s, the FDA has ranged from banning imports of the product (until overturned by the U.S. Federal Court) to permitting but stating that e cigs are not FDA approved smoking cessation devices, and not regulated.
Electronic cigarettes come in two, three, and four piece designs. For models that are designed in three or more pieces, the e cig atomizer is a separate component of the electronic cigarette and has to be removed for cleaning after use so that it can operate within specifications to vaporize the e liquid contained in the e cig cartridge to create vapor smoke.
The vapor smoke created by the electronic cigarette when “vaped” is normally created by the addition of propylene glycol (PG) to the e juice contained in the e cig cartridge. Some manufacturers also produce e liquid that has vegetable glycerin in the cartridge instead of PG to alleviate allergic reactions experienced by some users of vapor smokes. Most e liquid comes in a variety of nicotine strengths and flavors to include traditional tobacco, menthol, coffee, chocolate, and various fruit flavors.