1. Home
  2. /
  3. Vaping insurance
  4. /
  5. History of Vaping: Who...

History of Vaping: Who Invented Vaping?

Apr 25, 2019

Vaping today is prevalent across the UK – with over 3million people reported to vape across Great Britain. But where did it first start and how have e-cigarettes developed into the popular product and alternative to cigarettes that they are today?

When was vaping invented and who invented it?

Longer ago than you would expect is probably the answer to this. An original patent for what was termed a ‘smokeless non tobacco cigarette’ was first applied for and granted back in the 1960’s! This original patent was applied for by Herbert Gilbert. Yet issues with batteries and the fact that the damaging health implications of smoking were still unknown or little understood at this point meant that the outcome of the patent was really very little. There was little interest in an alternative to smoking at this point in time so manufacturing of the product never took off.

One of our vape clients was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to interview Herbert Gilbert. If you’re interested in finding out more about the thought process Herbert went through in developing  e-cigarettes from a concept into a product, you can read the full interview here.

At the same time, you might be interested in reading this interview with Dr Norman Jacobson on the origins of the term vaping, which dates back to the 1970s.

Where were e-cigarettes first used?

It wasn’t until the early 2000’s that the idea was revisited again properly. This time it was by a man named Hon Lik who was a Chinese Pharmacist.

First released to the USA and European markets in around 2005, this is really where the first e-cigarettes as we know them today were used.

Further developments have happened along the way to create the e-cigarettes seen on the market today – with open system e-cigarettes now the most common type of e-cigarette sold.

Why was vaping invented?

Reports suggest it was because Hon Lik lost his father to lung cancer. Hon Lik was himself a smoker but one who wanted to quit. His intention behind the invention is therefore widely reported as being to create an alternative to cigarettes which weren’t nicotine patches or similar, but which would help people to quit smoking.

Some have suggested that the invention was the brainchild of tobacco companies, something which appears to be unfounded.

How has vaping grown over the years?

Since 2005 vaping has grown in popularity significantly with over 3 million reported to vape in the UK and 2016 figures suggesting over 35 million vapers worldwide. In some countries vaping and the sale of e-cigarettes is banned – including Brazil and the Seychelles.

This growth in the UK has most likely been driven by the acknowledgement of the public health benefits of vaping in the potential for it to help people quit smoking.

The most common reason people give for using e-cigarettes is quitting smoking.

Reports and campaigns such as the below are aiming to highlight the benefits of switching to vaping to the health of current smokers:

– A 2018 report from Public Health England (PHE) cited e-cigarettes as being 95% less harmful than smoking.
– The Independent British Vape Trade Association (IBVTA) have supported the Stoptober campaign for the last two years, providing relevant information about vaping with the aim of providing support to those who want to stop smoking.
– April 2019 is Vaping awareness month (VApril) – whose campaign website cites itself as the world’s largest vaping awareness and education campaign.

What does the future hold for vaping?

Given the focus on the public health benefits of vaping to smokers the future looks like it will be one of growth. As with all new technologies however it’s safe to expect further research to be carried out in to the health implications of e-cigarettes. The government have committed to review the evidence on e-cigarettes on an annual basis for the rest of the current Parliament. The latest PHE evidence report on vaping was released on the 27th February.

The vaping sector is one of rapid growth and vape shops and those involved in the industry face unique risks. Something which many insurers over look. As the approved broker to the IBVTA we have real experience of the vaping market and can help you to ensure that you have sufficient cover in place to cover the real risks you face. If you have any questions at all about your vaping insurance needs then give us a call on 0208 290 9080 or email us at ecig@anthonyjones.com.

Get a Quote

You can call us during normal office hours, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. Outside of office hours you can either email us or leave an answerphone message and we promise to get back to you the next working day.

General enquiries:
020 8290 4560

Sign up for news

* indicates required