The History Of Vaping
- The first vaping device was created by Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik
- Umer and Tariq Sheikh come up with the cartomiser
- Garry Dibley, “The Modfather” creates box mods using household items
- E-liquids were made with two dilutants, Propylene Glycol (PG) and Vegetable Glycerine (VG)
The Dawn of Vaping
When you think of vaping, you may think it’s a modern invention, but the history of vaping starts back in the swinging Sixties!
A gentleman named Herbert A Gilbert first came up with the idea of an electronic cigarette back in 1963, and by 1965 he had patented the world’s first e-cigarette. However, because it was such an unheard-of device, it simply disappeared.
The First Vaping Device
The modern vaping phenomenon came from Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik, who’s father’s death from Lung cancer caused him to reconsider the electronic cigarette as a harm reduction device in the early 2000’s. By 2006, his employer, a company called Ruyan Group, helped him introduce his device to the world, starting in Europe.
First viewed as a gimmick, the ban on smoking in pubs in July 2007 kick-started the use of electronic cigarettes. As they were not covered under the legislation, people could still ‘smoke’ at their favourite bars without having to go outside. People quickly found that could use these devices as an alternative to smoking in their day to day lives. The era of vaping had begun!
This fledgling industry started online, with a few companies diving into the market to service this new group of people. Forums appeared soon after, with users comparing e-liquids and devices, and sharing tips on how to maximise both flavour and vapour. This core group of users quickly became very passionate about their new-found hobby and innovation came thick and fast.
The Rise of the Mods
On these forums was a gentleman who went by the handle of Trogg. He enjoyed tinkering and improving on the technology that existed, and came up with a device that, instead of using a built in rechargeable battery, could take a much higher capacity, removable battery. This device was called ‘The Screwdriver’, and the first modified device, or ‘mod’ had been born. Trogg sold his device on web forums and soon after, it was being sold in online stores to a larger customer base.
These pioneers of vaping were laughed at by the people on the street. It was very rare to meet another vaper when you were out and about, so seeing someone with a metal tube in their mouth was a strange sight. Anecdotal evidence started to appear on the forums – people mentioning how they felt better since using their device; their lung capacity going up and noticing they didn’t smell of smoke anymore.
This encouraged people that vaping was a viable way of reducing their smoking habit, with most people stopping completely and only using an e-cig. Even better than that, people also noticed that they could reduce the nicotine in their device, cutting down until they were not using any at all. This was hugely encouraging to see and further strengthened the belief that vaping was a way for smokers to wean themselves off the habit for good.
Innovation came thick and fast in the early days of vaping. First, the cartridge system was re-designed by two men, Umer and Tariq Sheikh, who came up with a higher capacity system they called the cartomiser. This was a tube that contained a coil of wire with cotton wrapped around it. This was a disposable tank that you could throw away after use. It could hold more liquid, meaning you didn’t have to fill it as often.
The Boom of Vaping Devices
From there, the device body was re-imagined. Why did it need to look like a cigarette? Vapers wanted to move away from that look and thus ‘box mods’ were born. As the name suggests, these looked like small boxes, with a tank or cartomiser that screwed on.
After box mods, people looked at ways to regulate the power of their device – the battery power would drop quite quickly on the older e-cigs and so people would be constantly charging them.
The first pioneer of this area was a man called Garry Dibley, “The Modfather” as he became known. He would make ‘mods’ from household items such as small torches, a car cigarette charger and metal tubes he would make himself. Regulating the power meant electrical circuits had to be created.
At first, 5 volts of regulated power was determined to be the ‘sweet spot’ based on the coils that were available at the time. Then the idea of being able to vary the voltage was explored. Variable voltage was a game changer for the vapers, as people found that liquids tasted different at different voltages.
Tanks became bigger and the first rebuildable devices became available. This meant people could build their own coils and make their own tanks.
The next big innovation was variable wattage. This was designed to be a ‘set it and forget it’ system, whereby you set the power you prefer, and it would be the same regardless of the tank that was attached.
Devices became more intricate in their designs and sub-groups started to appear to service them and their needs. The people who favoured simplicity had their ‘mechanical’ devices, where there was no circuitry controlling the mod. Those who favoured flavour, started ‘dripping’ e-liquid directly onto their coils, or ‘squonking’ liquid from a bottle.
How E-Liquids Came About
E-liquids followed a similar trajectory of innovation. Starting with very basic flavour profiles, such as tobacco or fruit, people soon discovered that by combining flavours you could create almost anything. ‘Flavour houses’ started to pop up, creating blended flavours to simulate a variety of dishes.
The original liquids had to be made with two dilutants, Propylene Glycol (PG) and Vegetable Glycerine (VG). As the VG was very viscous, it had to be mixed in a 50:50 ratio to be able to move through the wick, to the coil. With the advent of better tank designs, people were able to use a much higher VG percentage, which would produce bigger clouds of vapour; a feature popular with the vaping populace. From apple pie to chicken dinner and everything in between, it was all within the reach of these flavour designers.
It was during 2016 that one of the most popular flavours in the world was created. A new company called Dinner Lady had come up with a winner. Lemon Tart was a true reflection on the skills of these flavour creators, blending all the right ingredients to create a liquid that tasted just like a fresh lemon tart, right down to the meringue topping.
Article Writen By Irene
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