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10 Smoking-Hot Facts About Vaping History and How It Began

Posted by Courtney McElligott on

Vaping History

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve surely noticed that vaping is incredibly popular nowadays. In fact, Market research group Euromonitor predicts that by the year 2021, close to 55 million adults will use vape products!

These numbers are certainly impressive, but have you ever wondered how it all started in the first place? Stick with us as we go through ten fun facts about vaping history.


<1. Vaping History Goes Back a Long (Long!) Way

The concept of vaping has been around far longer than you think. While not exactly the same as modern-day vaping, records suggest that civilizations like the Ancient Egyptians used hot rocks to “vape” herbs!


2. The First Vape Patent Was Filed 1927

Back in 1927, inventor Joseph Robinson filed a patent request for an “electric vaporizer” intended to help patients inhale medications. This product never made it to the markets and it’s not clear whether a prototype was ever even created.


3. Herbert A. Gilbert is Credited with Creating the “Modern Day Vape” (1963)

It wasn’t until decades later, in 1963, that Herbert A. Gilbert revisited the idea of vaping. This time, the tool was dubbed a “smokeless, non-tobacco cigarette.” He filed for a patent in 1965 and did create prototypes, but the idea never had any commercial success.

According to Gilbert, the reason for the failure was that the companies that could have created a commercial version of the product preferred to wait for his patent to expire rather than pay him to license it. There’s no proof of whether this is actually the case. Regardless, Gilbert is credited for being the “father of the modern-day vape.”


4. The True “e-Cigarette” Was Invented in 2003

Once again, many years passed before what we now know as an e-cigarette was invented and brought to market. There were several attempts from the 1970s through the 1990s, but none of them gained any serious traction.

This changed when Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik, who was a three-pack-a-day smoker, began searching for a solution after his father (who also smoked) died of lung cancer. The result was the first commercially successful e-cigarette/vaping device.


5. The First e-Cigarette Debuted in America in 2007

Electronic cigarettes were first introduced in Europe in 2006 before being introduced in the United States in 2007. From there, they began to skyrocket in popularity, creating an entire subculture based on vaping.


6. Vaping Festivals Began in 2010

As the public started to embrace the “vape culture,” events focused around vaping, called “Vape Fests” started popping up. The first one was said to be held in the UK in 2010. This quickly moved to the United States, with the first “Vapestock” being held in Clearwater Beach, Florida, in 2011.

In the United States, it’s commonly accepted that “cloud-chasing” festivals began around 2012. “Competitive vaping” continues to grow in popularity, with professional vapers popping up around the globe from the United States and Canada to as far away as Indonesia.


7. Vaping “Mods” Grow in Popularity Starting in 2010

Although early vape products were extremely simple, as the habit started to take hold, users began to modify their devices. The purpose was usually to create bigger, more impressive, and more satisfying hits. Today, vape mods continue to be incredibly popular among vape users.


8. The World’s Most Expensive Mod was Commissioned in 2014

Today’s mods go way beyond the early updates. In fact, there are plenty of incredibly expensive mods ranging from the $2,500 Gepetto Elite V2 to the Magic Valley Vapors SX350J Dual Mod 18650, which carries a hefty price tag of $109,000.

Although this might leave you clutching your wallet for dear life, it pales in comparison to the most expensive mod in history – the diamond-encrusted Sofia from Shisha Sticks. This piece was commissioned by a Russian billionaire in 2014 as a gift from his girlfriend. It cost him a whopping $887,000!


9. “Vape” Became the Word of the Year in 2014

The popularity of vaping continued to skyrocket, growing from 7 million people using vape products in 2011 to 41 million in 2018. The jump that occurred between 2011 and 2014 led the Oxford Dictionary to name “vape” the 2014 word of the year.

Fun fact: A few of the other words that were in the running that year included “bae,” “budtender,” and “slacktivism.”


10. Flavored Vape Cartridges Were Banned in 2020

In a compromise that seemed to please no one, the Trump administration announced on January 2nd, 2020 that it is banning some favored vape products. This specifically applies to cartridge-based e-cigarettes, like those made by Juul.

The law banned the sale of “e-liquids in fruit, dessert, and mint flavors,” leaving only menthol and traditional tobacco products available for sale in the U.S. market. It should be noted that tank-style e-cigarettes and the flavored liquids that go with them are not part of this ban.

The rationale is that these products are typically sold in age-restricted shops while the former is extremely popular among teens who commonly purchase them at gas stations. It remains to be seen whether this ban will continue and if any others will follow.


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Now that you know everything you ever wanted to know (and more!) about vaping history, you’re ready to show off that sweet knowledge. What’s even better than being a smarty pants? Saving a ton of money on things you love!

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