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The E-cigs Effect: How an Asian Phenomenon Became a U.S. Health Craze

The E-cigs Effect: How an Asian Phenomenon Became a U.S. Health Craze

The electronic cigarette is an emerging trend that is becoming increasingly popular worldwide, especially in the United States where ecigs are considered a new health craze.

One of the first attempts at marketing an electronic cigarette occurred in 1936. At that time, Joseph Dalinda applied for a patent for a tobacco-free device that would compress smoke into vapor, storing it in cylinders for later use. This was followed by a second attempt by Herbert Gilbert in 1963 when he handcrafted what he described as a ‘smokeless non-tobacco cigarette.’ Unfortunately for both, the electronic cigarette concept never took off in the 20th century.

E-cigarettes contain four main components: a battery, a heating mechanism called an atomizer, a container that holds the atomizer and, what those in the know call “e-juice.” E-juice is the liquid ingredients that produce the vapor.

It wasn’t until 2003 that what we know today as the e-cigarette was developed in China by Hon Lik. It was introduced to the Asian market with sales rivaling that of traditional tobacco cigarettes. It quickly became popular among young, trendier smokers who appreciated the e-cigarette for its technology and cool appeal.

In fact, the trendiness of the e-cigarette and touted health benefits propelled it into the European market in early 2006 with high sales, followed by the introduction to the US market in 2007. Sales continue to impress executives, doubling since 2012 and currently totaling about $300 million per year. On the flip side, tobacco cigarette sales have decreased almost thirty percent since 2011. Both of those numbers have prompted cigarette giant RJ Reynolds, producer of Camel and Winston brands, to begin development on their own e-cigarette.

The over 400 different brands of electronic cigarettes have inspired a growing subculture of ‘vapers,’ dedicated enthusiasts of e-cigarettes. The use of e-cigarettes is called ‘vaping’ and is quickly growing with hundreds of retailers dedicated to providing customizable technology for e-cigs.

Vapers call their e-cig device Personal Vaporizers – or PV’s for short – and upgrades and new components are available. In fact, every part of a PV is customizable and Vapers can choose to upgrade new accessories, add new colors, and flavors like chocolate chip or strawberry. Some add custom made tips and accessorizing their PVs can cost thousands of dollars. Accessories are available at various online retailers and through Vaperfest. Vaperfest is a two day event held as a way to showcase vaping and expose new users to the culture. Various vendors are showcased, media tables, and workshops are included for the curious and experienced vaping connoisseurs alike. Most of the proceeds from Vaperfest go toward funding e-cig research.

Adding to the craze is the recent study by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine that e-cigs can be a successful tool in stopping traditional cigarette use. It’s been found that the use of e-cigs produces a six-month abstinence rates better than traditional nicotine replacement products.

With the phenomenon growing in popularity and considered trendy, along with the proven health benefits, it’s apparent that this Asian innovation is in the US to stay.