Overview and history of the electronic cigarette

February 12, 2018

Welcome to the beginning of our “new to vaping” series, where we here at VaporTrek bring new vapers and traditional smokers into the world of vaping with the least amount of troubles! Now let’s begin…


Electronic cigarettes, also known as e-cigarettes, have boomed in popularity since their creation by a Chinese pharmaceutical engineer named Hon Lik in 2003. He created the smoking cessation device to help himself quit smoking after he saw his father pass away from lung cancer, also a smoker. In 2006, Electronic cigarettes were introduced to Europe. Later that year and into the next year, e-cigarettes made their way to America. It wasn’t until 2008 that organizations started doing research and making claims about possible health hazards of vaping.

In late 2008

The World Health Organization (WHO) made the claim that e-cigs are not a formal and legitimate smoking cessation device. Saying this forced marketers for electronic cigarette and e-liquid companies to stop marketing the product as a cessation aid. A month later,Health New Zealand conducted a study funded by Ruyan, the company Hon Lik worked for. They conducted a detailed quantitative analysis and concluded that carcinogens and toxicants are present only below harmful levels. At the start of January 2009, Australia banned the sale and possession of e-cigarettes.

Throughout 2009

the banning and restrictions on electronic cigarettes continued to increase. In June, President Obama signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. This act gave the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to regulate the tobacco industry. They are classified by the FDA as a tobacco product. Even though e-cigarettes do not contain tobacco and were created as a cessation device for cigarette users. Meaning this act forced new tobacco products that were being introduced to the market to abide by extensive pre-market standards created by the FDA.


As the months continued, animosity grew tremendously. Panama, Brazil, and Israel banned the sale and importation of the devices as well. An e-cigarette company, Smoking Everywhere, embarks on a long legal battle with the FDA that made its way to the U.S. Court of Appeals. The court ruled the FDA can only regulate e-cigs as a tobacco products at the end of 2010. 2011 was a promising year for the industry, a study was published providing promising results saying that devices like e-cigarettes can be a good tool to help smokers quit. Shortly thereafter the FDA announced its going to continue to regulate electronic cigarettes like tobacco products but will more strictly regulate companies advertising e-cigs as a health benefit or to help smokers quit.

In 2012

More and more studies started being released about the opportunities that e-cigarettes have to help smokers quit. In 2012, the industry really started to skyrocket. Proposed regulations ensued for the following months until September 2014. A breakthrough study was published by Public Health England announcing e-cigarettes can up to 95% less harmful than traditional cigarettes. It wasn’t until October 2015 that the final regulations were finalized. After this ruling, many activist groups opposed it and many were in favor of it. From here the industry slowly become more regulated, safety caps on e-liquid bottles and prevention measures were created. So packaging made by e-liquid companies can’t be “advertised toward children.”


In May 2016

The FDA’s final regulations were issued, they were put in place 90 days later on August 8th, 2016. This was when the pre-market approval was in full effect. No new e-cigarette products have been introduced since the pre-market approval was put in place. In May 2016, a documentary called, “A Billion Lives” made its world premiere at the 2016 Doc Edge Film Festival in New Zealand. In September 2016, NJOY, one of the first e-cigarette companies on the market, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy due to, “increase relaunch expense and research and development costs and government regulations.”


Right now, the industry is at a stand-still with the FDA. Currently the FDA does not enforce specific regulations, leading to ethical dilemmas for many companies looking to help smokers quit. The most recent study was released in January, 2018 by The National Academics of Sciences Engineering and Medicine released a study stating, “that e cigarettes are safer than traditional smoking products and they help smokers quit.” Although, no long-term health studies have been made about e cigarettes. They cited conclusive proof that switching can reduce smokers’ exposure to deadly tar, dangerous chemicals, and other carcinogens.


This study has been the most comprehensive analysis of existing research on e-cigarettes and, although unlikely. Many vaping companies are hoping this will lead to e-cigarettes being re-classified as a tobacco cessation device. This is where the e-cigarette industry currently stands today and the future is looking promising.