Evolution of vaping
Vaping has been around for centuries, with evidence of ancient cultures where people would heat herbs and oils to produce a vapor that was then inhaled. However, it wasn't until the early 20th century that electronic vaporizers began to emerge.
In the 1960s, a US inventor named Herbert Gilbert patented a device that heated a flavored liquid to create a flavored steam that could be inhaled, but it never gained much popularity. In the 1980s, a researcher named Phil Ray developed a heat-based vaporizer called the "Inhale," but it never made it to the market.
Introduction of electronic cigarettes
Despite these early attempts, it wasn't until 2003 that the modern e-cigarette was invented by a Chinese pharmacist, and smoker Hon Lik. Lik had lost his father to lung cancer, which motivated him to develop a less harmful alternative to smoking. He later came up with a device that consisted of a battery-powered heating element that vaporized a liquid solution containing nicotine and flavoring. The first version of this device was clunky and unreliable, but it marked the beginning of the vaping industry.
By 2006, electronic cigarettes had become available in Europe, and in 2007, they entered the US market. At this time, e-cigarettes were not widely known or accepted, and there was a lack of knowledge about the potential health risks associated with their use.
Electronic cigarettes started gaining popularity in 2008, which were a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes among smokers. During this time, e-cigarette companies began to innovate and develop more sophisticated devices, including rechargeable batteries, larger cartridges, and more flavor options.
In 2010, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) attempted to regulate electronic cigarettes as a drug-delivery device, and the courts ruled that they were tobacco products and should be regulated as such. In 2011, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a report stating that electronic cigarettes were not a legitimate smoking cessation aid and should be regulated as tobacco products
Emergence of mods
In 2014, the vaping industry introduced mods, which were larger and more intense than traditional electronic cigarettes. Mods allowed users to customize their devices, creating a subculture of vaping enthusiasts who were passionate about their devices and the experience of vaping.
They featured bigger batteries, and more powerful heating components, and were often sold with a range of customization options, including different tank sizes and color choices.
During this time, the industry faced criticism due to safety concerns, including reports of e-cigarette explosions and fires caused by faulty batteries. There were also concerns about the potential health risks associated with e-cigarettes, including the long-term effects of inhaling vaporized nicotine and flavorings.
In 2016, the FDA introduced its first set of regulations for electronic cigarettes. These required manufacturers to register their products with the FDA and provide ingredient lists. The regulations also restricted the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and required warning labels on e-cigarette packaging.
Vaping Regulation and Innovation
Since 2017, the vaping industry has seen a significant shift toward regulation and innovation. In 2017, the FDA extended its authority to regulate e-cigarettes, and in 2018, the agency proposed new rules that would restrict the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in convenience stores and gas stations.
In 2019, the Trump administration announced a ban on flavored e-cigarettes, citing concerns about youth use which were later rescinded due to the impact on small businesses.
Innovation has continued in the industry, with the regular introduction of new devices and flavors. In recent years, "nicotine salts" have become popular among users who want a smoother and more satisfying vaping experience than traditional e-liquids. Nicotine salts are a form of nicotine that is extracted from tobacco leaves and combined with an acid to create a more potent form of nicotine that is absorbed more quickly by the body.
The vaping culture
The vaping culture has evolved significantly since the invention of e-cigarettes encompassing a variety of elements, including the hardware, e-liquid flavors, and social norms surrounding vaping.
One of the defining features of vaping culture is the wide variety of devices available on the market. As technology has advanced, so has the hardware, with vaping devices ranging from small, discrete e-cigarettes to larger, customizable mods. Another aspect of vaping culture is the diverse range of e-liquid flavors available, which has expanded beyond the traditional tobacco and menthol flavors to include an endless array of fruity, dessert, and even savory options.
The social norms surrounding vaping have also shifted over time. Initially, vaping was seen as a solitary activity but later became a social pastime. Vaping lounges, vape shops, and online communities have emerged, where enthusiasts can share their experiences and try out new products.