Over the past few years, the interest in e-cigarettes and vaping has increased substantially, which in turn has allowed a vape supplier in most areas to find a market.
Part of the reason for this is an increased acceptance of the potential of vaping as a way to help people stop smoking, reaching people who have tried to quit with the help of gum and patches without success.
Interestingly one of these people was the man who is credited with creating the modern e-cigarette as we know it. Dr Hon Lik was a lifelong smoker that had tried everything to quit, but a nightmare inspired him to create what he described as the digital camera of smoking products.
People’s Republic Of Cigarettes
In Dr Lik’s home country of China, smoking is for many men a way of life, with China being both the world’s largest producer of tobacco products and the world’s largest consumer.
Luxury cigarettes are often given as gifts and whilst there are tobacco control laws that aim to stop the prevalence of tobacco, smoking is socially acceptable at any time and anywhere outside of international hubs such as Beijing and Shanghai.
Most men who enter the workplace start smoking within a year, in no small part because of the company’s culture that allows smoking members of staff to get to know colleagues faster.
Both Dr Hon Lik and his father were among this group, and the younger Dr Lik started smoking from the age of 18. During particularly stressful times would smoke as many as 60 cigarettes a day.
Tragically, this habit would claim the life of his father, who would die of lung cancer and be the first step in inspiring Dr Lik to change the world.
The Nicotine Patch Nightmare
Dr Lik had tried to quit for a long time, relying on nicotine patches as they were the only real nicotine replacement therapy option available in the 1980s and 90s.
The problem was that the constant low-level delivery of nicotine did help some people battle cravings but for heavy smokers, it simply was not enough. The nicotine levels were too low and the smoker was not in control of when it is delivered to them.
One night, Dr Lik was once again struggling with particularly potent nightmares and restless sleep, only to find when he had woken up that he had slept with his nicotine patch on his arm.
He realised at this point that no nicotine product on the market was truly suitable and started work on a nicotine delivery system that would replicate the feel and action of smoking.
His system used an ultrasound piezoelectric mouthpiece to produce vapour from a nicotine solution. Whilst most modern vapes use a heating element instead, this is the first modern e-cigarette and the Ruyan would be the first to make it onto the market in nearly three decades.
Unlike the previous non-electronic Favor Cigarettes, however, the concept behind the Ruyan would stick, and most modern vaping tools can trace their history back to 2003.