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The History of Vaping

The History of Vaping

Many people in Australia believe that vaping is a modern trend, but this actually isn’t true. Vaping has existed for thousands of years. It has a fascinating history with milestone moments at every corner of the globe. While it would be impossible to fit all of this into a single article, here are some of the most important moments of vaping history.

The Earliest Form of Vaping

The first people that we know who practiced vaporizing [1] were the Egyptians back in the 5th century B.C. We have this recorded thanks to a historian named Herodotus. He wrote about how people would heat hemp seeds using red stone. As the seeds got hot, they would produce vapor that people would inhale and get high from. 

The Hunt for a Safer Alternative to Smoking Begins

To understand the more modern history of vaping, you have to understand why the demand for such a device arose. Although smoking was very commonplace throughout history, experts started to suspect it had harmful effects toward the end of the 18th century. However, it took many years for scientists to fully understand why smoking was harmful and what conditions it could cause.

The Butane Ignition Vaporizer

Over the next hundred or so years, as concerns over the negative effects of smoking grew, so did the demand for a safer alternative that gave a similar sensation but without the harmful effects. The first device designed for vaping was first invented all the way back in 1927 by a man named Joseph Robinson [2]. He called it a butane ignition vaporizer. He’d hoped that people would feel safer using these e-cigs knowing they couldn’t get burned, but people seemed to love smoking too much to give it up for this new-fangled invention.

Gilbert’s Smokeless Tobacco-Free Cigarette

The practice really didn’t begin to take off until the 1960s when Herbert Gilbert invented a smokeless tobacco-free cigarette [3]. Gilbert owned the first patent for an e-cigarette which was published in 1965. Gilbert’s design was similar to the modern vape. It utilized a heating element with smokeless flavored air and cartridges that were also flavored. However, he was unable to find a manufacture to actually produce the vape.

A Commercialized Nicotine Vape

It took over a decade for the next big step in e-cigarette technology. Phil Ray and Norman Jacobson commercialized their own spin on the e-cigarette [4]. Although they may not have invented the term “vape” they certainly popularized it. The user could inhale the vaporized nicotine thanks to the nicotine-soaked filter paper. However, these devices were not electronic.

At the time, people were not aware that nicotine was actually one of the reasons why smoking was so dangerous. Ray and Jacobson thought they were still giving people a safer alternative to smoking by avoiding other toxic chemicals that were common in cigarettes.

Advanced Tobacco Products produced these early vapes. They marketed them using the tagline “Do yourself a favor.” Once again, these devices failed to capture the almighty dollar of the smoker. The fact these devices expired so quickly could have been a big contributor to their lack of popularity.

Vapes Finally Hit the Market in a Big Way

In the 21st century, vapes finally hit the market in the way that we know them today. The inventor was Chinese pharmacist, Hon Lik [5]. Although Lik himself was an avid smoker, he knew he needed to find a way to kick to the habit after his father (also a lifelong smoker) passed away due to lung cancer.

The concept was relatively simple: imitate cigarette smoke with vapor. Supposedly, the concept came to him in a dream. His design included a battery, an ultra-sonic atomizer, and a plastic cartridge containing a nicotine cartridge. With this device, the user could bypass carcinogens and those around them wouldn’t have to worry about secondhand smoke which, at this point, was also known to be harmful. This was 2003 and it allowed vaping to take off in China. 

Vapes Go West

Three years later, the concept of vaping and Lik’s patented device and e-liquid traveled West and hit the market in Europe and North America. One year after that, the company N’Joy became one of the first major companies to sell vaping devices. They lasted for about a decade before filing for bankruptcy.

Although Lik invented the first modern vape, two brothers in the United Kingdom, Umer and Tariq Sheikh improved on the modern design by adding the cartomizer. This made the device more user-friendly. This component connects to the battery and heats the e-juice. It allows the juice to reach the perfect temperature and create vapor.

Six Generations of Vapes

Even the most religious vapers may not realize that the e-cigarette has undergone some pretty extensive evolutions in the 21st century. So many, in fact, that there have now been six different generations of vapes! Let’s take a look at the distinct features of these generations of vape technology.

First-Generation Vapes

The first generation of vapes is the early model disposable vapes. They cornered most of the market when vaping really took off in popularity in the early 2010s. Disposable vapes were known as “cig-a-likes” because of how closely they resembled cigarettes.

While at first glance you could mistake one of these vapes for a common cigarette, if you picked one up, you’d find they are heavier compared to their smoked counterparts. Cig-a-likes also had an LED light on one end that turned on during the inhaling process. They are fairly basic with a mouthpiece that acts as a filter. This is also the kind of vape that’s most closely associated with the term “e-cigarette.”

Note that there are also some cig-a-likes that that can be charged and have replaceable batteries. Thus, they are not disposable, but still considered the first-generation variety of vape technology.

Today these vaping devices are still manufactured and known for being an easy way to get the effects of vaping as a beginner. You can usually find them anywhere you’d buy cigarettes.

Second-Generation Vapes

The next generation of vapes turned from the single-use model and instead allows the consumer to recharge the device for multiple uses. Consumers can use a device with a larger battery capacity for a full day or maybe even two before needing to charge them. Because you don’t constantly have to throw this type of e-cigarette out, it’s more cost-effective.

Second-generation vapes are shaped like pens and larger than their predecessors. The bigger size accommodates two new features, the battery and atomizer. Some gen-two models also allow you to change the voltage either by pushing two small buttons or by twisting the base of the battery.

There are numerous reasons why many consumers may opt for the second generation of vapes as opposed to the first. This design is known for being more reliable with a superior vapor output and overall performance. To start vaping them, you must manually press a “fire” button while you inhale.

Third-Generation Vapes

In the third generation of vape changes, the devices once again become even bulkier. They are sold in a starter kit and can come in a wide variety of shapes so it can be hard to identify one based on appearances alone. Third-generation vapes are known as “vape mods” due to the modular way they work with a range of coils and tanks.

This design is supposed to reduce the chances of dry-hits as well as the risks that are associated with cotton wicking. These devices are smart enough to determine the best coil temperature based on the current level of coil resistance.

Overall, this generation of vapes is known for being more customizable. Although they are usually made of metal, they provide the consumer with more choices. They have superior power and vapor output compared to previous generations.

There are two different types of third-generation vapes: regulated mods and mechanical mods. With regulated mods, there is a control hardware component that allows you to adjust the voltage or wattage output. They frequently have more advanced features for safety and modifying electrical resistance. They are known for being some of the most user-friendly models.

On the other hand, mechanical mods aren’t quite as user-friendly. However, if you are experienced with mechanical mods, you can enjoy one of the most powerful vaping experiences with intense flavor. Mechanical mods don’t have any electronic circuitry. Usually, they will just have a battery compartment, connector, and a fire button. If you want to get the most out of these vapes, it’s important to have some understanding of volts, amps, and ohms.

Fourth-Generation Vapes

The fourth-generation vapes are like a hybrid of regulated and mechanical vapes from the third generation. They have the superior technology of a regulated mod with the powerful performance of a mechanical mod. However, they have an additional feature that is unique to this generation: an advanced microchip that regulates battery performance and improves user safety. They also feature adjustable and dual airflow slots. Box Mod is responsible for creating this hybrid design.

Even in 2021, the popularity of these vapes has still not died down. They are especially popular for Sub Ohm vaping.  

Fifth-Generation Vapes

These devices are pod vapes popularized by the major vaping brand Juul. They have been rising in popularity since 2016. Their small size makes them easy to take on the go and even easier to use. It has really only been since the invention of fifth-generation vapes a few years ago that the vision for the e-cigarette became fully realized. Vapes were finally a formidable competitor for the traditional cigarette. 

There are two types of vapes in the fifth generation: prefilled and refillable. Prefilled pod vapes are known for their convenience. If you hate the time it takes to fill your vape or the mess it can make, these are a great option. A lot of people choose this option because it has the same ease of reaching for a pack of cigarettes. All you have to do is charge your battery in between sessions.

On the other hand, you have refillable pod-style vapes. You’ll have to fill these yourself which can be a bit of a nuisance although it isn’t hard to do. On the plus side, this is a more cost-effective option which is important to consider if you are a habitual vaper.

One other benefit of refillable pods is that you can experience a greater variety of flavors—and there are so many flavors on today’s vape market! There is a downside to this level of choice, too, since there are specific e-liquids that work well with pod-style vapes and some that don’t. So there is some margin for error on the type of e-liquid you select.

Sixth-Generation Vapes

This brings us to the sixth and final generation of vapes. Ironically, the latest innovation is a bit of a return to the very first generation of vapes. Sixth-generation vapes are single-use disposable devices that can be thrown away as soon as they run out of charge or e-liquid. Unlike the first generation of vapes, these don’t bear the same resemblance to traditional cigarettes. However, they still have the ease of using cigarettes. There are several big brands of disposable sixth-generation vapes including Puff Bar, HQD, Dinner Lady Vape Pens, Bud, and Solo Vape.

These vapes appeal to the busy consumer who needs convenience and time-saving solutions. Since vapes in this generation are pre-charged you don’t have to worry about charging them yourself. As soon as you open your pack, they are ready to go!

Seventh-Generation Vapes? And Beyond!

Who knows what the next generation of vaping technology and the next chapter in the history of vaping will hold? But you can be sure no matter how the market changes, Podlyfe will have options for virtually every type of vape consumer. We sell a wide variety of vapes and are always adding to our collection.

Our Podlyfe Rewards system makes it easy to keep up with all the changes in vape devices without breaking the bank. You’ll earn awards every time you shop and can redeem them for exclusive discounts. To start shopping and racking up points today, browse Podlyfe’s online store!  


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