The first years of the e-cigarette
It was only ten years ago when the first electronic cigarette was developed in China. The first years of the e-cigarette didn't gain its popularity right away; it took some years to get people to smoke electronic cigarettes and even more years to get rid of prejudices. Now celebrities smoke e-cigarettes, thousands of people used e-cigarettes to help them quit smoking and the e-cigarette, also now as vaping, culture is growing every day.
The 52-years old Hon Lik was a heavy smoker and a pharmacist. He wanted to quit smoking for years, but didn’t succeed. After his father died of lung cancer, he was determined to find a solution. He invented the first electronic cigarette very rapid and the company Lik worked for, Golden Dragon Holdings, developed the device. The first e-cigarette was called Ruyan which means ‘like smoke’.
Lik expected a large ‘boom’ after the launch of the e-cigarette device, but the opposite was true. Nothing happened for three years. In 2006 and 2007 electronic cigarettes were introduced in the United States and this changed the whole e-smoking future. Slowly the device got known all around the world.
The indistinctness about electronic cigarettes took its toll in 2008. In Turkey the Health Minister started criticizing e-cigarettes. He banned all kind of e-cigarettes in the whole country. The importation as well as the sale of e-cigarettes was strictly forbidden. As a reason he stated nicotine was the most dangerous element of tobacco cigarette and e-cigarettes contain this as well. Tobacco cigarettes contain about 4800 poisoned chemicals. Thanks to several researches we now know nicotine is not more harmful than caffeine.
It didn’t stop with the Turkey’s minister. Also in 2008 The World Health Organization (WHO) stated e-cigarettes are not considered to be an aid to help people stop smoking tobacco. All manufactures were forced to stop promoting e-cigarettes as an effective aid or substitute for tobacco cigarettes. While studies still show a lot of people replace tobacco cigarettes with e-cigarette and some even totally quit tobacco’s, this rule is still effective.
There were also positive developments in 2008. Ruyan decided to take manners in its own hands and funded a study of the Health New Zealand Organization. They analyzed and researched e-cigarette and elements like nicotine. The study showed that electronic cigarettes are below harmful levels in any way. They clearly proved e-cigarettes are way less harmful than tobacco cigarettes. The nicotine dose (if you even use nicotine) is similar to the dose of a nicotine inhaler. It was labeled as a safe and effective alternative to smoking.
Australia discovered e-cigarette as well in 2008. The devices were getting popular and the health organizations got worried. In the beginning of 2009 the country banned e-cigarette; sale as well as the possession. This rule only applied for e-cigarettes containing nicotine as nicotine is seen as poison if it’s not in tobacco cigarettes or replacement therapies.
Rapidly more countries followed the bans on e-cigarettes. In January 2009 the ministry of Health in Jordan banned the import of e-cigarettes; in March 2009 Canada banned sale, advertising and import of electronic cigarettes. Main reason for these bans was that e-cigarettes contain propylene glycol. A lot of people didn’t exactly know what this meant. Now we know propylene is used in a lot of food as well. It’s not good for your health, but not bad either if you abide by the rules.
In 2009 the FDA got interested in electronic cigarettes as well. They instructed the customs and border control to reject any import of electronic cigarettes into the US. Untill now the FDA didn’t regulate e-cigarettes.
Hong Kong took great measures in 2009. They totally banned e-cigarettes and even activated a fine for anyone possessing or selling e-cigarettes. HK100,000 and two years in prison was the maximum sentence.
In 2009 electronic cigarettes were a big topic all over the world. Bans and criticism filled the media, but the benefits of e-cigarette slowly got through people as well. It wasn’t until 2010-2011 that electronic cigarettes really got popular. Due to celebrities explaining they quit smoking tobacco cigarettes with the help of e-cigarettes, people got more interested in the benefits. They started to put aside their prejudices and investigated the benefits. Several universities and health organizations looked into e-cigarettes and analyzed the elements. They discovered the only ‘harmful’ ingredient of e-cigarettes is nicotine. Inhaling a bit of nicotine is nothing compared to smoking a package of tobacco cigarettes a day.
Since a year or two the ‘vaping’ community increased, especially in the States. People meet each other to talk about electronic cigarettes, features and new gear. They support smokers who want to quit tobacco and explain how to buy the best e-cigarettes.
The FDA is still working on regulating e-cigarettes. How and when they will do this, is unclear.