A Brief History

Following is a brief history report on electronic cigarettes. Most of it was gathered from Wikipedia, some of it was gathered from the FDA website and still other parts were gathered from the e-cigarette forum which is one of the largest collections of e-cigarette info available in the world. eCignificant has, in some spots, added it’s thoughts and opinions. eCignificant additions are colored in orange and indented so as not to be confused with the source information.

1963: Herbert A. Gilbert patents a device described as a – smokeless non-tobacco cigarette. The device heated Nicotine with flavoring added, to the point where it turns into steam to be inhaled. Although Gilbert was approached by several manufacturers who wanted to put the device into production, it never made it to market. (We assume that the tobacco industry didn’t like the idea) Even though this was the first time the idea of heating a Nicotine liquid for inhalation as a cigarette replacement, it isn’t actually the beginning of the modern day electronic cigarette. We did however feel it was noteworthy enough to be included here…it illustrates how really great ideas are sometimes never brought to market and for whatever unknown reasons, disappear from the record.

2000: Chinese pharmacist, Hon Lik comes up with an idea to use a piezoelectric ultrasound emitting element to turn a liquid called Propylene Glycol containing Nicotine into a vapor for inhalation. The design produces a smoke-like vapor that once inhaled, delivers Nicotine to the bloodstream via the lungs. This design laid the groundwork for the modern day electronic cigarette.

2004: The company for which Hon Lik worked, ‘Golden Dragon Holdings’, changes their name to Ruyan (literally meaning “resembling smoke”) and introduces the new device to the Chinese market as an aid for smoking cessation and as an alternative to smoking.

2005-2006: Ruyan begins exporting the device.

2007: Ruyan receives an international patent for the invention.

2008: The World Health Organization (WHO) states that no rigorous, peer-reviewed studies have been conducted to support claims that electronic cigarettes are helpful as a smoking cessation aid. The WHO doesn’t dispute that they may be useful as a smoking cessation aid, but says that proper studies and analysis must be done and they must operate in the proper regulatory framework before such claims can be made.

2009: In May the United States Food And Drug Administration (USFDA, or FDA) tests 19 varieties of e-cigarettes made by 2 companies, NJoy and Smoke Everywhere. One of the cartridges tested contained a poisonous and hygroscopic liquid called Diethylene Glycol. Some of the non-Nicotine labeled cartridges are found to contain small amounts of Nicotine. Anabasine, myosmine and B-Nicotirene are found in a majority of the samples tested.

In July the FDA publicly discouraged the use of electronic cigarettes. They also raised concerns that electronic cigarettes may be marketed to children.

On June 22, 2009 President Obama gave the FDA incredible power they never had before, the authority to regulate tobacco products by signing into law the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. This law banned flavored cigarettes due to “their potential to appeal to children.

The FDA classifies e-cigarettes as a drug delivery device which would make them subject to regulation under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, prior to importation to and sale in the USA. The classification as a drug delivery device was challenged in Federal Court.

2010: In January Federal Court Judge Richard J. Leon overruled the classification citing that e-cigarettes should be classified as a tobacco product and not a medical device.

In March a US Court of Appeal stayed the injunction pending an appeal of the decision filed by the FDA. The FDA argued that they should be given the right to regulate e-cigarettes based on their previous ability to regulate Nicotine Gum and Patches. However, the court ruled against the FDA appeal with a 3-0 unanimous decision. E-cigarette manufacturers proved that the products were aimed at smokers as a cigarette alternative or replacement and not a cessation aid.

In April the American Association Of Public Health Physicians publicly supported the sale of e-cigarettes to adults “because the possibility exists to save the lives of four million of the eight million current adult American smokers who will otherwise die of a tobacco-related illness over the next twenty years.”

The Boston University School Of Public Health concludes that e-cigarettes are safer than tobacco cigarettes. Researchers said that while further studies on electronic cigarettes were needed, “few, if any, chemicals at levels detected in electronic cigarettes raise serious health concerns.” In the studies e-cigarettes were found to have levels of carginogens 1,000 times lower than tobacco cigarettes.

As more studies are being done to find out the safety of e-cigarettes, the evidence is stacking in favor of a safer alternative to tobacco cigarettes. More studies and research need to be done in order to gather a full picture of the safety of using electronic cigarettes.

Is Regulation Really Necessary?

We say NO! Regulation is not necessary in the USA. For at least the past 3 years we have had electronic cigarettes in America with no serious issues arising. Claims that the Nicotine liquid could be dangerous unless regulated have so far proven unfounded. Thousands of people each day make their own e-liquid for their electronic cigarettes by diluting Nicotine solution down to their preferred level and no reports of hospitalizations from Nicotine poisoning. The concentrated Nicotine liquid is sold in nearly any strength desired up to 10% (sometimes even higher) for the buyer to dilute further for vaporizing. This is the most likely thing we are to see highly regulated. We would guess that regulation will call for Nicotine liquid to be sold in very low strengths, which may be too low to do any good for most users. This would be done ‘for the safety of citizens’, yet it’s completely unwarranted based on the fact that the status quo has not proven to be a safety issue.

Another regulation we hope not to see at some point is a ban on flavored e-liquid. As mentioned in the ‘Brief History’, tobacco cigarettes have already been hit with regulation that bans flavored tobacco.

As the e-cigarette world has evolved over the past couple of years most every distributor and retailer has created their own rules against underage sales. It’s something that happens in a responsible society such as ours, no government regulation is necessary. Underage electronic cigarette use is a non-issue, if it becomes an issue it’s doubtful that any regulating would put a stop to it. After all, regulation over the past 40 years hasn’t put an end to underage smoking. Regulation is designed to punish merchants who sell to minors, nearly every merchant voluntarily chooses not to sell to minors already.

Future For E-Cigarettes

So what does the future hold for electronic cigarettes in America and abroad? The truth is that it’s difficult to tell, we don’t own a crystal ball, but we do have some thoughts on what’s likely to happen. Since they will be regulated in the same category as cigarettes, we could probably expect to see some of the same rules in place. Rules like giant warnings on the packaging, limited flavors, Nicotine content limits, etc. However at this point it looks like e-cigarettes are here to stay. They’ve become too popular and they’ve also become too much a part of our economy to put a complete ban on them. They are sold in nearly every convenience store, gas station, mall and shopping center in the nation, no doubt it would be a big issue to ban them now. Doesn’t mean it could never happen, just that we don’t see it on the horizon…barring some strong evidence to support a real health or safety risk.

We expect that as more information is gathered on the effects of using e-cigarettes, they may become more accepted. That is, should the information be positive. Any strict regulations that are placed on them might even be reversed or lifted later in the future if studies and analysis shows positive results. Eventually we might even see a day when electronic cigarettes completely stomp out tobacco in this country. Well, that may be a little too hopeful…but there’s always possibility.

Another thing we can expect is for tobacco companies slowly making a switch in their business structure. More cigarette manufacturers could invest big in electronic cigarettes once their sales start really sliding. Some are already investing in research and even investing into the product itself. If cigarette sales start bottoming out, big tobacco may be forced to make a 100% switch in order to stay alive.

Do Your Part

Well, that about wraps it up. We’ve gone from the past and on into the future of e-cigarettes. We may be forced to make some changes to this section as the environment evolves and we may need to add more over time. Electronic cigarettes are here to stay, at least in America. We may soon see what regulation is in store for the industry. We hope any regulation is based on facts, evidence and necessity. We all just want a healthier, happier America.

One thing you can do to help the industry and community and protect your right to choose as an educated adult is to tell your story. If you are an electronic cigarette user and *feel you have been helped by switching from cigarettes, either in your health or relationships, be sure to tell your story! Tell it everywhere you can…to people you know, in chat rooms, in forums, on a website, in the media, to strangers you meet, to your congressmen and congresswomen, to the President, in social media…where ever you can. The more that people are educated and hear how e-cigarettes have helped real people in their everyday lives, the more support the industry will receive and the less likely we will be to see them disappear.

If you are a smoker and haven’t yet taken  the chance to try electronic cigarettes, be sure to do it as soon as you get the chance. Go to the ‘Starter Kits’ link on the left of this page and order yourself one today, we think you’ll be surprised at how much you end up liking them. Give it a shot for 1 week and we’re sure you will realize what other e-cigarette users already have, they are as close to actually smoking a cigarette as you can get. Recent studies and analysis of e-cigarettes are pointing to the possibility that they may actually be a healthier and safer choice than tobacco cigarettes *(we need more research that compares smoke cigarettes to vapor cigarettes to support any such claim). This is something we already believe 100% and it’s wonderful to see evidence coming out to support it.

*Sections in red were changed or updated for accuracy on 10/25/2012. Any implication that vapor cigarettes are safe or safer than smoke cigarettes are unintentional. I’ve made every effort to correct areas that may be interpreted in such a way. Electronic cigarettes are not cessation aids, they are an alternative to tobacco cigarettes and are also used in addition to cigarettes by some smokers. No part of this statement should be interpreted as health or safety claims. Any statement that implies electronic cigarettes might be healthier or safer than tobacco cigarettes are based on recent research that appears to show they are easier on the heart than cigarettes and that “2nd hand vapor” is less harmful than 2nd hand smoke. However promising these studies are, much more research must be done before any such claims can be confirmed. At this point in time a decision to purchase electronic cigarettes should not be made on the basis of health or safety. Any opinions expressed anywhere on this website are the opinions of eCignificant and are not held, endorsed or supported by any advertiser or sponsor of the website.


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