The History of Vaping

8 min

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Every dedicated vaper had once asked the question “When did vaping start?” In fact, vape background takes centuries, but only now this leisure activity gains popularity with stellar speed. Being first invented in 1926, electronic cigarette failed to win customers.

The same poor success was reached after the re-invention of vaping in the 60’s and even in 90’s. Only the new millennium brought vaping the success it deserves, and more is to come.

How Long Has Vaping Been Around?

In fact, the history of vaping reaches far deeper than we expected. The top-notch cannabis or nicotine consumption devices base on the same principles that were used in Ancient Egypt or India. In old times, people utilized the hot stones to vape herbs and built first shishas thousands of years ago.

When Were E-cigarettes Invented?

When you search about who invented e-cigarettes, most of the links lead to Robinson’s patent from the early 30’s. The 20th century was the age of electronics. No wonder the idea to heat tobacco with electricity arrived no later than in 1927.

That was the first electronic cigarette patent application, posted by Joseph Robinson. Although no one ever saw the real prototype, this date has become the starting point of the modern history of vaping.

In 1963, Herbert Gilbert created the smokeless non-tobacco cigarette, which operated without nicotine, and produced several prototypes, though the product wasn’t commercialized since the patent expired before it received the license. The bureaucracy blocked the e-cig market then, but never ruined the idea.

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In the late 70s, Phil Ray the IT specialist and his physician Norman Jacobson reached the major retailers with the idea of a new e-cigarette, but the model had some engineering flaws and proved unproductive.

The rare attempts in the 70s and 80s turned into a real boom in 1990s. But it wasn’t until 2003 when vaping received a real commercial exposure.

In 2003 the Chinese pharmacist and inventor Hon Lik created the first modern vaporizer to explode the market. Reportedly he came up to this idea after his father, a heavy smoker died of lung cancer. Three years later electronic cigarettes were introduced to Europe and in 2007 to the United States.

The next year, the WHO (World Health Organization) demands from the marketers to remove from their products any statements that the WHO considers electronic cigarettes as a safe and harmless method to beat nicotine addiction.

Gradually more and more health organizations turn their heads in the direction of vaping, and it is proven by the amount of e-cig related researches. The number of dedicated scholarly investigations increased by 83% from 2003 to 2016, and the number is counting.

Their conclusions vary. The new FDA regulations in the US prove that the government is fastening the grasp over the vape market and other countries are to follow.

When Did Vaping Become Popular?

Despite that, the vape market today doesn’t show any signs of decline. According to the New York Times, the vape industry will bring 5 billion dollars in 2018.

And that is due to the immense popularity of vaping across different social and age groups. 12.6% of Americans are reported to try e-cigs once in their lifetime, and that is almost one-fifth of the population!

And the popularity of vaping grows worldwide. As published by Imperial College London, shows that vape use increases exponentially every year.

In GB, 6% of the population are regular vapers, and that makes the highest point in the modern vape history. Another country to follow is Belgium, with 4% of vapers in population.

Even more striking figures come from the BBC research, that shows the increase of the vapers worldwide. According to the study, in 2011 there were 6 ml of vapers in the world. The next year the number doubled, and until 2016 it increased to 35 M.

We have crossed the 40 M margin in 2018 and counting. We are sure the numbers will reach 42 M by the end of the year. As for the future, the prognosis, provided by the Euromonitor group, shows that by 2022 the number of vapers will reach 55 million.


Asking “When was vaping invented?” we found out that it was long ago. But with the centuries-long history, vaping found its place and overall acceptance only in the 21st century.

Being first patented at the beginning of the twentieth century, and having failed the introduction to the market in the 60s the vaping wasn’t a market trend up to 2003. Since then, it is beating the expectations with the constant increase of vapers around the world.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Cassy Williams
Vape enthusiast with 3 years of experience. Knows almost everything about vaping. Wants to share her expertise with Vape Habitat visitors. Vape collection - SMOK Stick Prince, Vandy Vape Pulse, SX Mini G Class Favorite flavors - VaporFi Joosylicious, Space Jam Astro, Wild Watermelon Lemonade