Who Invented Vaping: A Complete History

Within the last two decades, vaping has really integrated itself into our society. For anyone that wasn’t really paying attention, which was most of us, vaping seemed to have popped up out of nowhere and it definitely shows no sign of going anywhere. Unlike a lot of fads that have popped up over the years, vaping has only become more technologically advanced and so there is no wonder why so many people have decided to trade in their cigarettes for a brand new vaping machine.

Vaping has truly revolutionized the way that we address nicotine addiction and has created a solution for those of us who find the usual methods for quitting to be hard to follow. Not only has it created solutions for people trying to better their health, vaping has also become an outlet for other medical ailments. This includes stress, insomnia and even anxiety. Vaping has offered so much to society as a whole, so it seems odd that not many of us know who really created vaping and where vaping originates. We believe that the creator deserves some recognition and that it is generally important that we understand the origin of a device that most of us use almost daily. Here are all the details that you need to know about who invented vaping and the evolution and history of vaping itself.

The creator of the modern day vape.

Herbert Gilbert

Before we get into what we know about the creation of the modern day vape, it would only be right to pay homage to the creator of what we know to be the first vape. Herbert Gilbert is the first historically recorded inventor of the vape. He created his invention during the 1960s, which was an era where scientists really started to look into the negative impact that smoking nicotine had on the health of the general public. Before this, nicotine and tobacco companies had a large hold on the public in terms of advertisements and government endorsements and so many people naturally took up smoking as a habit, not knowing the risks that came with it.

Gilbert was not an inventor per-say, but a scrap metal dealer from Beaver Falls. In fact, he wasn’t even too focused on the negative impact that smoking had on the body, he instead had a focus on convenience and testing out his own theories. In his spare time he created a black aluminum cylinder which had a silver tip, he called this invention the ‘smokeless’. He coined this name for it because it didn’t require any heating with fire like your typical cigarette. It instead operated much like the modern day vape does, by heating a liquid with a battery powered heating device which would create water vapor.

Gilbert really saw potential in his investment and so wanted to make it more appealing to any potential customers. He knew that nobody would really see any appeal in the product if it didn’t differ too much from other tobacco options on the market and so he decided to add flavoring to the liquids. He created three main flavors based on his own taste and what he believed the general public would enjoy, these were: Mint, rum and cinnamon. Many people believe that his initial experimenting with his vaping liquids resulted in innovations which meant that you can mix CBD oil with vape juice in modern vapes.

Gilbert knew that when he created the first vape that he had discovered something that would find a place in the mass market and so he had the product patented. Though the product showed all of the features of a conventionally successful invention such as; having a unique selling point, there being a gap in the market and it having health benefits, no company would invest in his product. Again, another easy explanation as for why this was the case is because of the hold that tobacco companies and the vast amount of investors that these tobacco companies had. For this reason, Gilbert’s invention of the vape never found commercial success as it wasn’t released at a mass quantity to the general public and was only enjoyed by Gilbert and his close friends.

Gilbert attempted to start production on several occasions, however he was unable to do so and his patent eventually expired, which meant other people could attempt to bring commercial success to his invention. Not many people would think that the vape initially had such humble beginnings, but we believe it is important to know that the initial creator created this invention with the health of the future generations in mind.

Hon Lik

The creator of vaping that you may be more familiar with is a man called Hon Lik. Again, he is not really commonly known as the creator of the vape by vaping novices, but for those who have taken some time to learn a little more about vaping, you are bound to have come across his name.

Hon Lik was never really an inventor, in fact he was a pharmacist. As a pharmacist he was very aware of just how dangerous nicotine and tobacco can be for the body. However, much like a large population of China, he had picked up the habit in adolescence as a means to deal with stress and fit in with his peers. Though Hon Lik was aware of the risks associated with smoking, it wasn’t until the passing of his father in 2001, that it became a big concern in his life.

His father was a very heavy smoker and he passed away of lung cancer, which can be caused by smoking. Hon Lik himself was a very heavy smoker and he had begun to notice problems with his own health, such as having short breath and a persistent cough. The shock of losing his father inspired Hon to make some drastic changes to his lifestyle as he believed that he was doomed to meet the same fate as his father unless he turned his habits around.

As clear by his occupation as a pharmacist, Hon is quite an intelligent man. He didn’t believe that he would find success in quitting by using pre-existing methods and so started work on what he believed to be a better solution. According to his research, he believed that one of the main reasons that people find it so hard to quit smoking is due to the habitual behavioral patterns that smokers pick up. This meant that finding a closer emulation to the sensation of smoking would be more effective than simply sourcing doses of nicotine.

With this in mind, Hon began the creation of a device that would simulate the smoking experience and give the user nicotine, without having to inhale harmful smoke. His first prototypes for his vaping design are very different to the vapes that we see sold commercially today. It could be said that Hon’s intelligence worked against him and instead of a simple heating device, he attempted to make something that produced the vapor using an ultrasound element, which made the device very bulky and not commercially sellable.

He quickly came to the realization that using this method would not be sustainable, but luckily to his advantage he had access to a large source of high capacity batteries which would keep the vape running for a long time, meaning it wouldn’t need constant charging or an ultrasound feature. Even though Hon had the basis for his invention created by late 2001, he knew that there was a gap in the market for his invention and he needed to make it more user friendly for it to be able to really take off and increase in popularity.

Hon’s main focus was making the vape a convenient size, so that it could easily fit into the user’s pocket much like a pack of cigarettes would. Afterall, if it was harder work to carry a vape than it was to carry a pack of cigarettes, why would they go for the harder solution? In 2003 Hon felt as though his invention was at a marketable place and so took out a patent and began distributing his invention through a company that he worked for called ‘Ruyan’.

After showing to be extremely successful in China and other neighboring countries for a couple of years, the company decided to export the product to the USA and Britain for further expansion. The product didn’t take off as quickly in these countries as it did in China. This was mainly because Britain and the USA require extensive research on products like vapes that involve human consumption before they can widely promote the product. This can take a number of years and so initially the vape only had a niche clientele.

Many people believe that the new smoking restrictions that were put in place in Britain in 2009 really skyrocketed to popularity of the vape. People were unable to smoke in public places and a lot of the convenience of smoking was being removed. Not only this, but even more studies about the harm of smoking were being released every year and so more and more people started to put their cigarettes down and started to pick the vape pen up.

The Evolution of Vaping

After the initial release of the vape in China, other countries have started to bypass China in the overall use of the product. For example, the US has the most users of the vape than anywhere else in the world with a staggering 9 million users. With so many people using vapes in their everyday lives, there were bound to be people creating new innovations in the world of vaping.

One of the biggest innovations to vaping is the introduction and marketing of CBD as a coupling with the vape.

CBD and Vaping Into the 21st Century

One of the most popular trends of the 21st century has been changing the marketing of CBD. Before the 2000’s, CBD had its associations with weed and illegal produce. Scientists have put a lot of research into the benefits of inhaling CBD and they made some interesting discoveries and released new facts about vaping with CBD.

In a world where inhaling anything can be deemed bad for your health, it was a surprise to the general public when it was discovered that vaping CBD actually has a lot of health benefits. For example, the way in which CBD reacts with your serotonin and stress levels. Aside from its not legal counterpart , THC, scientists had not discovered something that could do this and also not pose any health risks. CBD also gained popularity for being extremely beneficial for chronic pain and general joint pains.

After this information was released to the public, like any smart business would, a lot of vaping companies started to introduce CBD to their vaping lines. Along with the general flavors that had existed for some time, you were now able to purchase CBD cartridges for your vape pen. Like anything new to the market, CBD cartridges had teething problems. This was mainly due to the general public confusion and the inability to distinguish CBD from marijuana. However, thanks to a lot of marketing and scientific study releases, the public became more informed and thus the sales of CBD and vape related products began to increase.

User base

Much like with any product, every year the vaping industry gains a much more diverse user catalogue. With new users there comes new opportunity, along with an increase in varied needs. Because of this, the vaping sector is evolving everyday and it’s hard to guess what the latest innovation in the industry is going to be. However, with the more commercialized hold that the vaping industry has, it is safe to say it has moved worlds away from its initial humble beginnings. We now also have much more access to scientific research, which means vapes are becoming safer every year and are slowly taking the place of the cigarette.