I’ve been tasked with blogging for E-Cigarette International and I’ve been struggling with the first post. Seeing as you don’t know me from a bar of soap, I settled on discussing history … that of the e-cig and my own.
You may call me Awesome, or you can call me The Ninja Vaper ... Ninj for short, everyone else does … I'm a proud vaper. I've been a vaper for over 10 years. I was vaping when e-cigs were carved from stone and e-juice was made from tobacco crushed by dinosaurs. I've seen the good, the bad and the ugly. Well, that’s enough about me … on to e-cig history …
You may be under the misguided impression that e-cigs are a recent invention, a fad, a trend which will soon pass as all new techo gadgets do when they lose their novelty; yeah … well you’d be wrong.
The very first e-cig patent was filed in 1963 by Mr Herbert A Gilbert. A revolutionary bloke way before his time, Herbert commented in an interview# that found the concept of inhaling burnt stuff a bit stupid and embarked on a quest to design a smoking alternative which didn't rely on combustion. So the first e-cig was born.
Herbert later claimed that the manufacturers he approached weren't interested in making his device until his patent expired, and tobacco companies weren't in any hurry to find a healthier alternative to smoking, they were raking it in. Cigarettes were advertised on TV, radio, roadside billboards and sponsored major sporting events, while Paul Hogan was “having a Winfield” long before he “threw a shrimp on the barbie” and the Marlboro man made many a young woman’s heart beat faster; everyone smoked - anywhere and everywhere.
But maybe Herbert wasn't so far off the mark with that statement about his patent ... it expired in 2003, which is about when an unassuming Chinese medical researcher, Hon Lik, (who'd lost his Dad to lung cancer and hated his own addiction) came along. He's said to have dreamt the concept after he forgot to take his nicotine patch off one night. In his dream he was drowning but as the water filled his lungs, it became a harmless vapour that he could easily breathe ... freaky stuff! His dream became reality when he released his first e-cig internationally in 2006. It consisted of a battery, a plastic cartridge filled with a nicotine solution suspended in PG (propylene glycol) and an ultrasonic atomiser.
Around 2007, two brothers, Umer and Tariq Sheikh from the UK, recognized the flaws in the three component system and integrated the ultrasonic atomiser and cartridge into what we now know as a ‘cartomiser’ (no longer ultrasonic), holding the first patent in the UK for what is now the base design for most current cartomisers, atomizers, clearomisers and disposable e-cigs (or cig-a-likes – you know, the ones that look like a cigarette … or a toy, depending on your perspective).
There’s one in every crowd and as e-cigs grew in popularity throughout early 2000, so did the subculture and there were those who wanted more from their vaping experience … enter the MOD. Put simply, a MOD is a modified e-cigarette and when you think about it, they’re really not that technical … a battery, a heating element and e-juice … can’t be that hard which is most likely why the starting point for most budding MOD builders was a torch battery; a hollow tube for the batteries with a switch and the threaded bit where you would normally screw in the bulb. If you look at the majority of MODs on the market, many show a marked resemblance to a simple torch design. From that point, progression was made to modifying the cartomiser, with people building coils from a variety of different ohm wire, changing wick materials, punching their own holes in cartomiser tubes submersed in e-juice filled tanks and further to different battery voltages and combinations, then even changing firing button designs and locations.
Technology has progressed to the point where almost anything is possible in e-cig design and you can customise most of standard manufactured e-cigs via variable voltage batteries, replaceable coils of different ohms, single or dual and more recently, the introduction of air flow control valves, but that’s nothing compared to what you can create as a MOD if you’re so inclined … AND all of this technology has only developed over the last 10 years! E-cigs are still a very young product in the scheme of things and from what we’ve seen so far, there can be no doubt that the next generation of e-cigs will be even funkier than they are now. There’s a heap yet to be written into the history of e-cigs. Sometimes progress can be a truly beautiful thing …