Hon Lik - Inventor of the Electronic Cigarette
Hon Lik or Han Li (Chinese: 韩力; pinyin: Hán Lì; Cantonese Yale: Hon Lik) (born September 26, 1951) is a Chinese pharmacist who invented the modern electronic cigarette.
Hon graduated from the Liaoning College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in 1982, majoring in pharmacy. After that, he joined the Liaoning Academy.
After graduation, Hon spent ten years in a state enterprise for plant agriculture, during which he manufactured a ginseng plant known as an aphrodisiac.
In 2001, while using high-dose nicotine patches to rid himself of the habit of smoking, Hon devised a system on a large console, using food additives as solvents. At the time he was working on vaporization by ultrasound. The droplets formed were too big to resemble tobacco smoke and so he used resistance heating, which got better results. The challenge was managing to scale the mechanism down to a miniature size, suitable for a hand-held cigarette-zed device, and getting the right dose of nicotine, while also getting the right odors from harmless additives.
In 2003, came up with the idea 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 that delivers nicotine. Hon Lik filed the first patent in 2003 in China for the device. The first electronic cigarette was manufactured that year in Beijing, China using an ultra-sound technology. It didn't have the vaporization system used today but instead based on atomization, which can vaporize liquids through the heating produced by the electricity of the battery. Most e cigarettes today use a battery-powered heating element rather than the ultrasonic technology patented design from 2003.
Hon only owned 0.79% of the shares of the company. After the financial crisis of 2007, it was bought by a company in Hong Kong, Dragonite. The aim was to sell the invention to the British tobacco giant Imperial Tobacco, for about 55 million euros. In 2014 the inventor was still awaiting royalties due to multiple lawsuits in the United States and Europe.
Hon was nominated as the 2010 K cancer Hero candidate for his invention of the electronic cigarette.
Hon is also a co-founder of Dragonite International Limited (Golden Dragon Group Holdings Ltd), now called Ruyan and he also served as Chief Executive Officer from October 15, 2005 to October 30, 2013. Hon has been Vice-Superintendent of Liaoning Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine in 1990 and was a Director of Weston Technologies Corp. since October 15, 2003 too.