What is Vaping: A Complete Guide and Infographic

May. 24, 2017
by Vaping Guru

Vaping is one of the biggest trends of 21st century! Learn more about what is vaping below.

So What is Vaping?

It seems that vaping is giving a lot of headache to many lawmakers, especially in the US; so, one really cannot help but ask what vaping actually is. Recent bans on vaping in public indoor spaces in New York and Austin defend the opinion that vaping is just as unhealthy as the regular smoking. According to them, vaping is a dangerous practice that, besides inducing various health risks, normalizes the act of smoking altogether. On the other hand, there are those who oppose this law claiming that vaping is a much healthier alternative, especially in the transition towards quitting smoking.

Is vaping unhealthy, healthier, or healthy? You might find some opinions on why people vape and use e-cigarettes here. We, on the other hand, will try to present some good old historical and scientific facts in weeks to come, which might help you form your opinion easier!

Vape, the Word of the Year

Vaping, or vape, is a term coined after abbreviating its root base vapor or vaporizer. It originates from the Latin word vapor which means steam or heat. The act of vaping is defined as inhaling and exhaling the vapor produced by a vaporizer (or a vapor cigarette). While the act of vaping existed throughout the history, which we will touch soon enough, the word is quite contemporary.

Believe it or not, the word “vape” was selected as The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year for 2014, due to increasing usage of e-cigarettes. The first usage of the word, however, is noted before the habit of vaping in its contemporary e-cig form even existed.

“An inhaler or ‘non-combustible’ cigarette, looking much like the real thing, but…delivering a metered dose of nicotine vapor. (The new habit, if it catches on, would be known as vaping.)” Rob Stepney states in his 1983 article titled “Why do People Smoke” published in New Society. He was describing a hypothetical device at the time.

It wasn’t until 2009 that this word became the topic of the mainstream discussions.

Vaping: from ancient times to contemporary designs

While the word is all fresh and new, still carrying its 2014 Oxford crown, the act of vaping is a little bit older (not with an e-cigarette, obviously). Many ancient cultures, mostly those of non-western provenance vaped to a certain extent. Egyptians, for example, used hot stones to vape herbs. The Greek historian Herodotus talks about similar custom among Scythians in his History. Even nowadays, dry herbs are used as flavors for e-cigarettes.

The e-cigarette we know, was patented by Herbert Gilbert in 1963, who came up with a device, naming it “smokeless non-tobacco cigarette,” which very much resembled today’s e-cigarettes. However, due to a massive stream of tobacco advertisements and the escalation of marijuana panic enhanced by the counterculture of the 60s, Gilbert’s patent never reached commercial distribution. Same happened to Joseph Robinson a few decades before Gilbert. His 1927 patent of “electric vaporizer” was also doomed to perish, without even producing its prototype. As it seems, the world was not ready for such devices.

It was in 2003 that a Chinese pharmacist, Hon Lik, earned a title of the inventor of the modern electronic cigarette. The world seemed ready this time, as his invention, was soon introduced in China, and then across the world. Various vaping related merchandise can be found now in many stores all around the globe.

Anatomy of a Vape

What are then the components of vaporizer or e-cigarette that are making it as modern? Well, first, there is the battery that gives this cigarette the “e” and which can be activated manually, by pressing the button, or in some cases automatically by inhaling the vape. Atomizers are attached to the battery, and they vaporize the e-liquid. Recent designs include improved components, like cartomizers that heat the liquid, but also ensure the longer time of vaping, or clearomizers. They are a bit more expensive, but they enable the vaper to control the liquid use, while their structure supposedly provides better flavor.

Other basic parts include mouthpiece (inhaler), and cartridges containing the e-liquid, which can be flavored diversely: from peanut butter and gummy bears to mother’s milk, kiwi watermelon, and cinnamon roll.

The design of e-cigarette is also something that its users can play with and express their identities. Its changeable parts can be assembled in a manner that matches the style of the e-cigarette user, current fashion, or pop culture trivia. For example, at Vimanna e-juice bar, you can even mix and make your own e-juice.

Vaping goes pop

Even though the e-cigarette was created in China, the USA and the UK are the world’s leading markets in sales of these vaping devices, which make these countries main popularity boosters of vaping. For example, e-cigarette related sales in the UK increased from £360 million in 2009, to £1.6 billion in 2015. It is not a wonder then that vaping in these countries moved from its subcultural context to mainstream phenomenon.

There are even festivals honoring the vaping, for example, the UK’s Vapefest and the Vapefests held in numerous cities across the USA. These are the most popular ones, but there are also festivals held in Helsinki, Kuala Lumpur, even Cape Town, that gather many vaping evangelists who are a formative part of vaping culture’s identity. In 2014, musician Aaron David Ross, performing as ADR, even released the first collection of music for vapers, by vapers. It is a mixtape symbolically entitled Cloud Chasing Vol. 1.

Uncertain future

An ever burning discussion on vaping remains to this day. It seems that many sides are trying to come up with one ultimate answer rather than mutually seek for a solution. Is vaping healthier than smoking, can it be used as quit-smoking therapy, or should it be banned altogether, are the questions that vape retailers, lawmakers, and healthcare practitioners still do not have a unanimous answer.

However, the FDA did finalize its regulations on vaping in 2016, claiming its authority over manufacture, import, packaging, labeling, advertising, promotion, sale, and distribution of components and parts of vaping devices, but not accessories. Governmental instances of many American states and cities have been rapidly voting for banning the e-cigarette in public indoor spaces, as well as parks. Ironically, this might lead to a scenario in which vapers could be prevented to vape even in vape merch shops and bars. However, some vapers are trying to be as responsible and sensitive, even towards their pets. Will future bring clearer clouds for all the sides or someone will end up with a bitter taste in their mouth?

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