The modern electronic cigarette was one of the most significant breakthroughs ever in the history of the tobacco health crisis. It seemed like a promising idea to have a device that could deliver nicotine without combustion or tar. When vaping first hit the market, people thought it was a fad. Smoking is the number one cause of preventable death in the world. People are now beginning to see the benefits that vaping can bring to their loved ones.

Vaping has been around for a lot longer than people think. The vaping devices of today are much more advanced and personal than the ones you might have seen back in the early 2000s.

Please take a look at how vaping has evolved to the point it is now.

When did people start vaporizing?

Scythian peoples have been vaporizing since the 5th Century B.C. According to Greek historian Herodotus, the idea of vaporizing is rooted in cannabis vaping.

According to Herodotus, in his book ” the History of Herodotus”, Scythians used to vaporize marijuana flowers on top of hot charcoals and sit inside enclosed tents in a ritual honoring the dead.

“The Scythians throw some hemp-seed on the red-hot rocks; it immediately vaporizes, and gives off a vapor that no Grecian steam-bath could surpass; the Scythians are delighted and shout in joy.”

The ancient Scythians got high on vaporized THC. Although their intention was not harm reduction, heating rather than burning has been around since ancient times.

Hookah was created in the 15th Century using the same principle of heating an element to vaporize rather than burn. The 20th Century saw the first innovations in vaping devices.

The History of Modern Vaporing Devices


It is interesting to note that the first “electric vapourizer” was submitted for a Patent in 1925 and published by Joseph Robinson in 1930. What? People used to throw huge clouds in the old days. Not really. The idea was to make a device that could be used easily to vaporize medical compounds rather than burning them. The design of this device is similar to modern electronic cigarettes, even though it wasn’t designed as a nicotine-only tobacco substitute. We don’t even know if there was ever a prototype. It’s still important to note that the idea of vaporizing rather than burning was conceived in that era with the technology available.


Herbert A. Gilbert has been widely recognized as the creator of the first electronic cigarette. Herbert Gilbert submitted a Patent for a “smokeless, non-tobacco cigarettes” device in 1963. It was the first time that flavored air could be vaporized instead of being burned. Herbert said in an interview that he believed that inhaling combustion material was not good for health.

Although the “smokeless, non-tobacco cigarettes” did not contain nicotine, the basic components of this device were no different than what we know today as e-cigarettes.

Herbert’s patent was published in 1965. Herbert developed prototypes, but they were never commercialized. Herbert was ahead of his time, and his ingenuity marked the beginning of a new age.


Phil Ray and Norman Jacobson first commercialized an electronic cigarette in the late 1970s. Phil Ray was looking to develop a device that would only allow the inhalation of pure nicotine. Phil and Norman have been credited with popularizing the word “vape” on the mainstream market.

The vaping device was not electronic, but it was the very first of its kind to use vaporized nicotine. At this time, nicotine’s danger was not known. However, Phil and Norman knew that cigarettes contained highly toxic chemicals.

If the device isn’t an electronic one, you might wonder how the nicotine is vaporized. The device looked like a traditional cigarette, but instead of tobacco, the filter paper contained nicotine. You inhaled, and vaporized nicotine was drawn in!

The product, produced by Advanced Tobacco Products, was named Favor and had the catchy tagline “Do Yourself a Favor.” The device was not very popular because it had a short shelf-life. The product was faulty, but it led to other companies and inventors looking for safer ways of providing nicotine.


In the early 1990s, the anti-smoking campaign was at its height. Individual inventors and tobacco firms filed a flood of patents. The marijuana industry saw a rise in patents for marijuana vaping products.

In the 1990s, other devices, such as the ‘heat-not-burn’ products that were developed in the late 1980s, came to the forefront.

Consumer Advocates of Smoke-Free Alternatives reports that in 1998, a tobacco firm developed an electronic cigarette. However, the FDA rejected it because they considered it an unapproved drug-delivery system. This halt may be one of the main reasons why tobacco companies have not been successful in commercializing their vaping devices.


Hon Lik, a Chinese pharmacist who was a heavy smoker in 2003, developed the first e-cigarette to be commercially successful. Hon Lik was inspired to turn Herbert’s vision of saving lives into reality after his father died from lung cancer. Hon Lik patented Ruyan, which means “like smoke” (in Chinese). An ultrasonic atomizer powers the Ruyan, whereas modern e-cigarettes use battery-powered atomizers.

The device was first introduced to the world in 2006. Since then, the technology of vaping has developed incredibly quickly due to its popularity.

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