History of the Electric Cigarette

The first patent for an electronic or smokeless cigarette was obtained in 1963 by Herbert A Gill who could not locate sufficient investment capital.  However, electric cigarettes would not hit the United States market until the late 2000’s. The dangers and potential life-threatening illnesses related to smoking were not a prominent issue in the early 1960s and therefore the emphasis on alternatives and stop smoking programs were virtually nonexistent. In fact, to the best of our knowledge smoking was permitted in all buildings, restaurants and other facilities.

The current day electronic cigarett was invented in Beijing China by Hon Lik, a 52 year old Pharmacist. He was a smoker and his father, also a smoker died of lung cancer. The company Lik worked for, Golden Dragon Holdings, developed the device and changed their name to Ruyan, which means “like smoke.”

Ruyan began exporting electronic cigarettes out of China, introducing them first to the European market in 2005.  Europe was introduced to electronic cigarettes by British businessman Greg Carson under the brand name of the ‘Electro Fag’. Their launch and increasing popularity created a heated debate in The British Parliament before they concluded that electronic cigarettes should not be included in the current smoking ban.

Electronic cigarettes did not hit the American market until 2007. Almost immediately, controversy and other issues dogged the market. 

Less than a year later, in September 2008, the World Health Organization (WHO) addressed the issue of electric cigarettes. WHO, stated that no rigorous, peer-reviewed studies have been conducted showing that the electronic cigarette is a safe and effective nicotine replacement therapy. WHO does not discount the possibility that the electronic cigarette could be useful as a smoking cessation aid, but insisted that claims that electronic cigarettes can help smokers quit need to be backed up by clinical studies and toxicity analyses and operate within the proper regulatory framework.  What Is Nicotine Replacement Therapy


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