A Brief History Of Electronic Cigarettes

Decades ago, the idea of an electronic vapor delivery system that could replace cigarettes would have seemed like a far-fetched idea worthy of sci-fi writers. Back then, consumers were unaware of how devastating cigarettes would be to their health and the environment. Those dangers were clear before the turn of the new millennium.

Electronic Cigarettes: a Short History

Their story so far really is quite short: e cigs came on the market in China just over 10 years ago. Their instant success can be attributed to the prevalence of smoking, smoking-related illnesses, and the strength of their electronic manufacturing sector.

It didn’t take long for China to establish themselves as the primary manufacturers of electronic cigarettes and e juice in the form which eventually make its way to the US and all over the world.

Early e cigs came about as a way to end the cycle of illness and death associated with smoking. A pharmacist was responsible for the first one. Ruyan, the first company to popularize these devices, was soon followed by brands such as SmokTech, JoyeTech, Kanger, Innokin, Kamry, and others.

In the United States

When Americans started to embrace this technology, it wasn’t long before firms such as V2 Cigs, Halo, 21st Century Smoke, and Green Smoke got in the act.

BluCig, V4L, Volcano, and others helped introduce the United States to the potentially life-saving technology that was sweeping China. Smokers looking for an alternative to smoking their tobacco were excited about this nicotine delivery method.


Some of the early products exploded, caught fire, or fell apart. There were scams with companies selling low-quality e cigs and starter kits for exorbitant prices, adding charges to credit cards their clients did not agree to, and not honoring warranty agreements when products failed to work.

Pricing was over-the-top. Markups were horrendous, but additional competition helped to reduce costs to customers and reign in the tendency of e cig companies to overcharge.

The first cigs came apart into three pieces: battery, atomizer, and cartridge. This system worked for a while, but it was clear consumers didn’t like the added middle piece and found the whole system annoying. If they could just reduce their e cigs to two-part units, that would bolster growing interest in this industry.

Chinese Innovation

E cig designers constantly innovate and soon developed the two-part e cig. This is comprised of a battery and atomized cartridge. Within a decade, the three-part e cig was dead: every “modern” e cig would come apart into battery and cartomizer. E liquid was guaranteed to be heated by a fresh coil every time it was added to a battery. Customers would enjoy fresh liquid each time.


Electronic cigarettes have their detractors and advocates. Lung and heart surgeons believe this technology has already saved many lives and reduced the number of people they see in their clinics and operating rooms. Big Tobacco has taken an interest, buying vaping companies and creating their own nicotine delivery systems.

The FDA and WHO believe e cigs are dangerous and are moving to strictly regulate them. A new phase in e cig history will begin when regulations are established.

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