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Who Invented the Electronic Cigarette?

Posted July 19th, 2013 in News by Steve

The popularity of electronic cigarettes has increased rapidly during the past few years. People in every part of the world use them, and they are recognised as a great alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes. Have you ever wondered who invented this popular quit smoking product? It all happened in 1963 when Herbert Gilbert, an amateur American inventor, came up with what he called a ‚Äúsmokeless non-tobacco cigarette”. In his patent, Gilbert explained that his device worked by “replacing burning tobacco and paper with heated, moist, flavored air.” Attempts to commercialise Gilbert’s invention, unfortunately, failed, and his product fell into obscurity. However, it deserves a mention as the earliest patent for an electronic cigarette.

The contemporary manifestation of the e-cigarette that you are probably familiar with was invented by a Chinese pharmacist named Hon Lik, whose father, a heavy smoker, died of lung cancer. Lik, who was also a heavy smoker, wanted to create a healthy alternative to the tobacco cigarette which could save the lives of people who would otherwise die of a tobacco-related illness. He patented his electronic cigarette in 2003, and the following year formed a company to manufacture and sell his product, first in the Chinese market, and then internationally. The e-cigarette became a worldwide hit and was even used by a number of well-known American actors. The popularity of the product is not difficult to understand, considering how many smokers there are throughout the world and the desire of most of them to quit to their unhealthy habit.

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