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A Brief History of Vaping

Posted 5th Nov 2015 to Vaping Style and Culture


Recently we covered the dark history of smoking combustibles in the UK, so we needed to cheer ourselves up by telling a much more fun story: the history of vaping! Granted, it’s a brief history since it’s only been around for several years as opposed to several hundred, but it’s a fascinating story nonetheless.

Although vaporizing technology dates back to the late 1920s, the vape as we know it was not developed until 2003, when Chinese pharmacist, Hon Lik acted on a dream, literally. In 2003, Lik was losing his father to lung cancer, and was a 60 cig a day smoker himself. Since watching his father’s health decline, Lik was trying to use nicotine patches to cure his habit. Many of our readers who have tried patches know that they can have some strange side effects, including nightmares. One night when Lik forgot to take off his patch before bed, he dreamt that he was suspended in the ocean, drowning. Suddenly, the water around him vaporized and he was safe, floating through an elegant fog. Upon waking, he was inspired to invent the modern day e-cig. It’s all very poetic and we might be waxing lyrical a little here, but that’s the story.

When Hon Lik brought his new invention to his employers, they were so thrilled with the idea that they renamed their company to Ruyan, which means “resembling smoke”.They began mass-producing the e-cig shortly after. It was not smooth sailing, however, as Lik had to fight against a reactionary and sensationalist media (not much has changed there…), and copycat products. In 2004, Lik’s father passed away from cancer but was able to try his son’s product before then.

Vaping caught on. The community started out small but incredibly passionate and knowledgeable. In the early 2010s, people started using vaping as a method of quitting smoking. This, combined with broader mainstream acceptance, helped it grow into what it is today.



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