Vaping? Who Started It?

Matt Wallace
Dec. 4, 2017
by Matt Wallace

If you ever wonder who invented the vape, relying on the media will not give you the answer that you want because a lot of people create scary stories about who created it so that people can avoid vaping. This goes back to early 1960, and often times, it’s not everything the media has depicted.  People who are against vaping are not hesitant to make a claim that tobacco companies invented e-cigarettes so that younger people could become addicted to nicotine and they could buy e-cigarettes. Realistically, tobacco companies didn’t have anything to do with the invention of the vape. As a matter of fact, they have ignored them for years and have played a role in making efforts towards getting them banned. So, who invented the vape?


who invented the e cig


The Beginning Stages


The very first vape was invented in America. Herbert Gilbert tried to get a patent for a non-tobacco cigarette that was smokeless. He got the patent granted in 1965. The first invention of Gilbert’s was free of nicotine but had produced a vapor that had flavor that was designed to replace the smoke of tobacco.

Several prototypes were made of Gilbert’s invention, but no interest had been shown towards it. These came out when doctors started telling people how bad smoking is for you, and no one really knew about the risks it could take on your health, so there was no reason to look for an alternative that could promote safety.

Gilbert also ran into many problems when developing a mod as well. The design of the vape required battery power, but batteries were not as advanced as they are currently. Batteries were super expensive and were either really heavy or had a limit on how much energy they could store. It was an advancement that was very much ahead of its time.


The Breakthrough of the Vape


The invention of the vape started to make an appearance again in 2001 after going away for nearly 40 years. It came up again when Hon Lik decided to find a way to quit smoking. He started experimenting with systems for vaporization by testing a number of different liquids that helped develop the same feeling of smoking a tobacco product. He came across a food additive that is very common called propylene glycol. Propylene glycol is non-toxic and creates a vapor that many people are very satisfied with.

Hon Lik had the advantage when making a system that people could use to vape. He started by using a system that was built on a console. When he was making this, he had the advantage of using batteries that were more developed and more affordable, such as a battery made with lithium ion. The first design from Lik was made of an emitter that is ultrasonic, which is where a stream of pressurized liquid gets turned into mist from the intensity of the frequency vibrations. This design became patented in 2003, but the first product made commercially had a release date in 2004 and didn’t use the original design. The design was switched to an atomizer that used a heated coil, which had used the same design ideas as Gilbert’s design.


Many modifications have been made to the original designs since, some even by vape users themselves. Although some would like to believe e-cigarettes were designed by big tobacco, they couldn’t be further from the truth.





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