The Evolution Of Vaping: How Things Have Come Full Circle
Vaping has changed a lot since the first electronic cigarette was introduced to the world in the 1960s. Then, the sole purpose of e-cigarettes seemed to be as a substitute for tobacco smoking. Fast forward more than a decade and vaping has made the journey from a smoking alternative to a cloud-chasing, flavor phenomenon, and back to a focus on finding a viable alternative to smoking.
The Origins of Vaping
When the first e-cigarette was officially patented in…(wait for it)…1965, its creator, Herbert Gilbert, envisioned it as a “smokeless non-tobacco cigarette” that would “simulate” cigarette smoking. Gilbert never ended up marketing his patent commercially, so we’re left to wonder how the e-cigarette market — and the tobacco market, for that matter — might have evolved if he had.
It wasn’t until 2003 that the world learned of the commercial potential of electronic cigarettes. Like Gilbert’s invention, this new device was geared toward smokers who were looking for something else. Hon Lik, a 52-year-old pharmacist in Beijing, is said to have invented the device after his father died of lung cancer.
Even the name of Hon Lik’s device suggested its focus was on smokers. It was called Ruyan, which translates to “like smoke.”
The Emergence of Vape Mods
Once e-cigarettes made their way to the U.S. in the late 2000s, there had already been plenty of buzz about their popularity with smokers. Our founder, Steve, tried e-cigs around that time and he moved past a 40-year smoking habit to design his own vapor cigarette and then create his own vape company in 2008.
Over the next decade, the face of the vaping industry changed rapidly. Ejuices were available in a much wider variety of flavors and ejuice makers emerged on the market, giving vapers options beyond prefilled ecig flavors.
The biggest shakeup to the vape industry and the image of vaping overall came with the surging popularity of vape mods. For the larger part of vape history, vapers had been former smokers who wanted something that felt like the experience of smoking. Mods and high-VG eliquids started to create what some called a subculture of vaping: cloud chasers.
Instead of cig-alike devices, vapers started toting heavy box mods equipped with a number of programmable settings. Sub-ohm vape coils fell into favor for their ability to create heavy clouds when used with high-VG juice and vapers began building their own coils and personalizing their setups.
Thus, the scene of vaping shifted from a smoker-centric setting to a venue for vape tricks, cloud contests, flavor chasing, and coil building.
Pod Mods Bring Things Full Circle
Midway into 2018, it seems like vaping has come full circle and returned to its original roots. The JUUL vape system and vape salts reignited an interest in vaping by smokers, some of whom said they had been discouraged by the flood of complicated vape mods that seemed to define vaping for awhile.
JUUL’s system and the many vape pod systems that have followed it add modern flair to the historic design of electronic cigarettes. Instead of cig-alikes, these newest devices don’t look like cigarettes, but they’re still lightweight, easy to use, and give a decent throat hit.
When paired with the power of nicotine salt eliquid, vape pods are the go-to option for more and more smokers. This isn’t to say that box mods and sub-ohm vaping has disappeared.
The world of vaping is just changing…and it’s exciting to imagine where it will end up next!