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How Vaping Evolved From A Smoking-Cessation Aid Into A Lifestyle

The history of smoking is a long one. Humans have been smoking plants for a while and in many places, smoking has become part of a cultural legacy. Still, it wasn’t until the 1950s that questions about health concerns were posed in relation to smoking. 

Since then, we’ve seen numerous attempts at creating a smoking alternative that isn’t bad for the consumers’ health. So far, we haven’t found one, and even though the regulation of public smoking, as well as advertising and promotion of smoking, has been put under greater legal control, we’re still struggling to keep it in check. 

Vaping was thought to be an alternative way to quit smoking, but it’s evolved and taken on many different iterations through the years. Let’s see how it developed.

The Old Days of Vape

The first vaporizer idea appeared all the way back in 1927. The inventor, Joseph Robinson, wasn’t thinking about quitting smoking when he came up with the idea; he just wanted to eliminate the possibility of burning yourself while inhaling vapors. He also didn’t aim for it to be used for smoking tobacco, but rather to inhale medical compounds. 

The first patented e-cigarette that carries some resemblance to modern technology appeared in 1963, and the patent was submitted by a man named Herbert Gilbert. The name he used for his patent was “smokeless non-tobacco cigarette.” Unfortunately for Mr. Gilbert, he couldn’t find an investor to push the project forward. It seems he was a bit ahead of his time. 

Another prominent appearance of an early vape device came in the 1980s at UCLA. The inventor was Jed Rose, who also invented the first nicotine patch. He experimented with something that was called “distilled smoke,” but the project never really caught on. 

Modern Times and a Volcano of Innovation

Things got serious for the vaping community in 2000. STORZ & BICKEL vaping company entered the market with the first VOLCANO vaping devices. Still, at this time, the device wasn’t intended for use with tobacco – it was intended for vaping cannabis for therapeutic purposes. The idea was to remove smoke from the equation as a thing that negatively impacts the patients’ health. 

The first modern e-cig came out in 2003. It was invented by Hon Lik, a Chinese pharmacist, and smoker.

The Device Intended to Stop Smoking

The original idea Hon Lik had was to use this device to stop smoking. The reality turned out to be that he now both smokes and vapes. 

At first, the devices were promoted as a way to ditch the bad habit, but because you’ll still be inhaling a dose of nicotine while smoking, you’ll maintain your dependency.

After this initial period, they re-branded and vaping became a thing of its own. It became an alternative to smoking with its own risks and consumers. 

Since 2006, it has spread across Europe and the U.S. and has become wildly popular as a lifestyle choice. 

The Vape Lifestyle

The idea of vaping as a lifestyle fell right into the millennial lap. The idea is that there is no combustion, there is no smoke, there is no smell, and there is no second-hand smoke since there is no smoke. Now, the consumer can smoke anywhere.

Many celebrities have taken to vaping and publicly display their vaporizers while out and about. Some celebrities who vape include Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, and Britney Spears.

Vaping is cheaper than purchasing tobacco and is customizable so users can put their own unique style into their devices. Cannabis also contributed to the growth of the vaping industry, as it found its particular niche within the culture.

Vaping is almost 100 years old now, but it went through some serious changes along the way. The initial goal was abandoned as unrealistic, and now, we have completely different uses for the devices than their creators ever intended.

It is now a separate part of the tobacco and cannabis industry that keeps getting more traction and evolving every year.

Vaping culture doesn’t seem to be a passing trend, as some predicted in the beginning. It is an industry that will likely remain relevant well into the future.


  • Tammy Taylor is a full-time content marketing specialist. He has been closely studying cannabis industry trends for quite some time. He has worked for various genres as a writer and when not working, he likes to work out, try new foods, and play with his dog.

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