History of Electronic Cigarettes
The earliest e cigarette can be traced to American Herbert A. Gilbert, who in 1963 patented "a smokeless non-tobacco cigarette" that involved "replacing burning tobacco and paper with heated, moist, flavored air". This device produced flavored steam without nicotine. The patent was granted in 1965. Gilbert’s invention was ahead of its time. There were prototypes, but it received little attention and was never commercializedbecause smoking was still fashionable at that time. Gilbert said in 2013 that today's electric cigarettes follow the basic design set forth in his original patent.
Hon Lik, a Chinese pharmacist and inventor, who worked as a research pharmacist for a company producing ginseng products, is credited with the invention of the modern e cigarette Lik quit smoking after his father, also a heavy smoker, died of lung cancer. In 2003, he thought of using a high frequency, piezoelectric ultrasound-emitting element to vaporize a pressurized jet of liquid containing nicotine This design creates a smoke-like vapor. Lik said that using resistance heating obtained better results and he said the difficulty was to scale down the device to a small enough size. Lik’s invention was intended to be an alternative to smoking.
The Ruyan e cigar was first launched in China in 2004.
Hon Lik patented the modern e cigarette design in 2003. Lik is credited with developing the first commercially successful electronic cigarette. The e cigarette was first introduced to the Chinese domestic market in 2004. Many versions made their way to the U.S., sold mostly over the Internet by small marketing firms. The company that Lik worked for, Golden Dragon Holdings, changed its name to Ruyan (如烟, literally "Resembling smoking"), and started exporting its products in 2005–2006 before receiving its first international patent in 2007. Ruyan changed its company name to Dragonite International Limited. Lik said in 2013 that "I really hope that the large international pharmaceutical groups get into manufacturing electronic cigarettes and that authorities like the FDA in the United States will continue to impose stricter and stricter standards so that the product will be as safe as possible." Most e cigarettes today use a battery-powered heating element rather than the ultrasonic technology patented design from 2003.
Hon Lik sees the e cigarette as comparable to the "digital camera taking over from the analogue camera." He has said "My fame will follow the development of the e cigarette industry. Maybe in 20 or 30 years I will be very famous." Many US and Chinese e cig makers copied his designs illegally, so Lik was not paid for his invention (although some US manufacturers have compensated him through out of court settlements). The company had sold e cigarettes and e cigars.
The e cigarette continued to evolve from the first generation three-part device In 2007 British entrepreneurs Umer and Tariq Sheikh invented the cartomizer. This is a mechanism that integrates the heating coil into the liquid chamber. They launched this new device in the UK in 2008 under their Gamucci brand and the design is now widely adopted by most "cigalike" brands. The grant of the UK patent for the "cartomizer" was made to XL Distributors in February 2013 and published by the UK Intellectual Property Office. The clearomizer was invented in 2009 that originated from the cartomizer design. It contained the wicking material, an e liquid chamber, and an atomizer coil within a single clear component The clearomizer allows the user to monitor the liquid level in the device. E cigarettes entered the European market and the US market in 2006 and 2007.
Tobacco company Subsidiary company Electronic cigarette
Imperial Tobacco Fontem Ventures and Dragonite Puritane blu e cigs
British American Tobacco CN Creative and Nicoventures Vype
R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company R. J. Reynolds Vapor Company Vuse
Altria Nu Mark, LLC MarkTen
Japan Tobacco International Ploom E-lites LOGIC
International tobacco companies, recognizing the development of a potential new market sector that could render traditional tobacco products obsolete, are increasingly involved in the production and marketing of their own brands of e cigarettes and in acquiring existing e cigarette companies. blu e cigs, a prominent US e cigarette manufacturer, was acquired by Lorillard Inc. in 2012. British American Tobacco launched Vype in 2013, while Imperial Tobacco's Fontem Ventures acquired the intellectual property owned by Hon Lik through Dragonite International Limited for $US 75 million in 2013 and launched Puritane in partnership with Boots UK. On 1 October 2013 Lorillard Inc. acquired another e cigarette company, this time the UK based company SKYCIG. SKY was rebranded as blu. On 3 February 2014, Altria Group, Inc. acquired popular electronic cigarette brand Green Smoke for $110 million. The deal was finalized in April 2014 for $110 million with $20 million in incentive payments. Altria also markets its own e cigarette, the MarkTen, while Reynolds American has entered the sector with its Vuse product. On 30 April 2015, Japan Tobaccobought the US Logic e cigarette brand. Japan Tobacco also bought the UK E-Lites brand in June 2014. On 15 July 15, 2014, Lorillard sold blu to Imperial Tobacco as part of a deal for $7.1 billion. As of March 2015, 74% of all e cigarette sales in convenience stores in the U.S. were products made by tobacco companies. As of May 2015, 80% were products made by tobacco companies.
In the UK in 2015 the "most prominent brands of cigalikes" were owned by tobacco companies, but except for one model all the tank types came from "non-tobacco industry companies". However some tobacco industry products, while using prefilled cartridges, resemble tank models.