Historians have traced the very first growing of tobacco, way back to 8000 years in the tropical rainforests of Ecuador and Peru. Roughly 2 millennia ago, smoking and chewing tobacco became inherent in early Latin American civilizations, often inscribed as part of their cultural, spiritual and recreational activities.
Journey of Tobacco
The famous voyager Christopher Columbus, has been accredited with discovering tobacco and bringing it back home to Europe in the 15th century. Once in Europe, its growth and popularity accelerated in the next two centuries, transforming it into a popular worldwide industry. Simultaneously, scientists started examining the health-impact of smoking tobacco along with underlying causes. The longest speculation was for its ‘addiction-component’, that puzzled even the world’s best chemists. In this regard, eminent scientists from Germany, Reimann and Posselt were first to triumph in 1828. They became the first to identify and isolate “Nicotone” as the prime addictive constituent, and studied its effects on the body. Then arrived the revolutionary cigarette producing machinery invented by James Bonsack, a milestone that single-handedly transformed tobacco from a European luxury to a global rage. The sheer convenience of cigarette smoking directly put tobacco on the roadmap of global recreation and lifestyle. Tobacco consumption for the next two centuries, primarily revolved around the undying popularity of cigarettes
A new cornerstone
The next breakthrough invention was by Herbert Gilbert. He invented a novel device in 1967, that wouldn’t burn tobacco like traditional cigarettes. This invention was revolutionary because of zero smoke emission- the tobacco effect was achieved upon the mere heating of a paper and subsequent vapours release. Although commercially unviable, it certainly paved way for a line of similar devices. Many other inventors came up with mechanisms to attain the desired effect of tobacco, making use of vapours instead of smoke.
E-cigarette comes into picture
Commercial viability was finally imparted to e-cigarettes in 2003, thanks to the efforts of Hon Lik, a pharmacist from China. Utilizing a combination of Nicotine along with Propylene Glycol (PG), there were three parts of this e-cigarette namely atomiser, mouthpiece and battery. The combined vapours of Nicotine and PG would be inhaled using the mouthpiece, brought into action by the heating coil present in the atomiser. Without smelling like the erstwhile tobacco-based cigarette, this e-cigarette emanated Nicotine vapour efficiently.
From e-cigarette to vaping device
Over the years, there have been several remarkable improvements in the rudimentary e-cigarette invented by Hon Lik. As the hardware and liquid were greatly improvised, the phenomenon of “Vaping” (inhaling vapour) came into existence. The E-Cigarette evolved into a modern vaping device, with brand New Vape hardware and several customizations.
Types of E-Cigarettes
In the present age, vaping has become far more popular than the smoking of cigarettes.
For the modern-day consumer and ‘vaping enthusiast’ today, rechargeable e-cigarettes and disposable e-cigarettes are two broad varieties to choose from.
As the name suggests, disposable e-cigarettes fall under the “use & throw” category.
These are the use and throw e-cigarettes with a specified life or usage. This is calculated in puffs, 400 to 500 being the norm which is equal to 40 or 45 normal cigarettes. Users find this version easy to manage, as these can be used and thrown hassle-free. The built-in battery is not rechargeable, and easily lasts anywhere between 400 to 500 puffs. Aside from ease of use, patrons love the fact that the e-liquid (referred to as ‘juice’) in this version of e-cigarettes comes in a variety of flavours. One can specifically chose the desired Nicotine level, or even get one that’s nicotine-free. If you prefer a smokeless version, there is a Propylene Glycol (PG)-free variant as well! All these advantages make disposable e-cigarettes a boon for first-time users to get a knack of the whole ‘vaping process’. One must however remember that a disposable e-cigarette should always be disposed after the battery gets discharged. Also, the ‘juice’ once exhausted cannot be refilled, and the device needs to be disposed in that case as well.
As evident by the name, these e-cigarettes come with batteries that need to be recharged from time to time. Likewise, the liquid here can be refilled and cartridge can be changed as required. Overall, the components are sturdier and last much longer as compared to the disposable version. Apart from the high-level durability of the rechargeable e-cigarette, users can go on an experimenting spree with liquid flavours and nicotine variation. One only needs to ensure that the battery has to be charged as and when it gets exhausted. There are options for devices with Propylene Glycol (PG) or PG-free ones. The latter versions utilize alternative base materials, and are therefore smoke-free. Also known as a Mod or a Tank, there is a popular high-capacity variant that is officially referred to as the Vape Pen. This is a common favourite amongst experienced users. With high e-liquid storage capacity, excellent battery longevity and robust durability, the Vape Pen is undoubtedly a popular purchase.
In 2019-20 alone, the overall market size of e-cigarette and other vape devices was calculated at a whopping 12.41 billion USD. Experts suggest the estimated annual growth rate till from 2020 to 2027 would be 23.8%. With revenue generation growing at 18.4% annually, a gigantic turnover of 16.1 billion USD is expected in the next 4 years.
Newer, high-tech and customised versions of the e-cigarette are emerging in the market, catering to every need of the consumer. The variety of e-liquid flavours is booming like never before. Wider options for base materials and nicotine levels have opened up the market for new users and enthusiasts. This massive popularity is only going to increase in times to come. Who would have thought that the voyage of Columbus would earmark the humble beginnings of such a massive industry and become an unstoppable global phenomenon!