Vaping’s 20th Anniversary
In 2003, Hon Lik, the father of vaping, created the first ever electronic cigarette to help himself stop smoking. 20 years later, we are all still arguing over what colour they should be, rather than focusing on the potential harm reduction these devices provide.
This year, vaping will have been a pastime for two decades in a row. During that time, it has managed to significantly change society in a number of ways which differ based on where you are in the world. Let’s take a brief glimpse at the world of vaping – and at vaping in the world – after twenty years of progress.
We’ve come a long way since the original design.
Although Hon Lik envisioned a sleek, subtle pen style device that fit in your top pocket, the modern device is either bulkier or smaller than his original design. Though some vapers, particularly women, enjoy the thinner, more subtle design (they don’t have pockets), pro-competitive vapers like mod kits where they can make their own adjustments while blowing those huge vapour clouds.
That original e-cigarette became either a pod device or a refillable device. After that, MTL or DTL vaping was born. The choice in vape juices went from menthol, tobacco, or fruity, to every flavour man can think of. A world of taste exploded luring smokers away with good taste. New strengths with less voltage, sub ohm vaping, and new accessories are all still helping the vape world evolve over time.
Regulations are constantly changing.
Vape regulations are in a constant state of flux. Since each country has its own allowed and banned substances, governments around the globe have failed to come up with a unanimous stance on vaping. While most countries encourage it for better health for smokers, countries like Australia are implementing an outright ban on any recreational vaping. To vape in Australia, you will need a prescription in the coming years.
The main social problems arising from an increase in the number of children who have used e-cigarettes. Recent estimates suggest as many as half of all teens have used a vape already. Social media influencers and product designers are being blamed as the main source of discontent.
Another problem with disposable vapes is in the environmental cost they incur. They have become a litter problem, fuelled lithium mining, and have caused some countries to react with harsh rules on devices which are already deeply ingrained in our social culture.
Conflicting Studies and Confusing Reports
The problem of vaping among teens is made ever worse by the conflicting reports in the media. Well-known news agencies are demonising vaping because of children’s ability to buy the products. They blame manufacturers by saying disposables are too brightly coloured and sweet flavoured and that this draws kids in. It might be wiser to target the shop owners who are selling these products to children in the first place before we blame anyone else.
In the UK, trading standards officials are trying to keep on top of the problem but have described it as a never ending scenario.
20 years on from the first production of the first e-cigarette, the laws are in flux, packaging looks set to change, and nobody can agree on what vaping may do to your body. One thing we can all agree on is that kids shouldn’t be vaping. Let’s tackle that issue first and deal with the rest as we come to it.