A Chinese pharmacist and smoker, Han Lik, set forth to develop electronic cigarettes after his father died of lung cancer. Seeing a way to transform tragedy into a positive, he created this method that enabled smokers to have nicotine through inhalation, without smoke, tobacco, and the many thousands of chemicals that are part of the production of cigarettes. The company he worked for was in support of him fully, and through their backing, Lik turned his ideas into reality. The company then assumed the name of “like smoke.” The Chinese market took to them almost immediately.
The success spread, and soon electronic cigarettes were embraced by many nations in Europe. Europeans have always been well known for their smoking habits, and this change was quite monumental.
Electronic cigarettes next moved into the American market in 2007.
With electronic cigarettes picking up major steam, the World Health Organization (WHO) decided to become the first major international organization to publically give reference to them. They averted any discussion on whether electronic cigarettes were safe or not and whether they were worth merit, and just banned them from being referred to as devices for smoking cessation. This did nothing to slow their success, and only boosted their credibility by having no negative effect.
This action paved the way for all of the positive studies, information, and press that would begin to emerge. Late in 2008, a study done by Health New Zealand was published, revealing testing that showed there were no questionable chemicals present at toxic levels. The study also showed e-cigarettes to be anywhere between 100 to 1000 times less hazardous to the health than conventional cigarettes.
In 2009, the heat was on and electronic cigarettes were really being targeted.
Early that year, Australia and Canada were quick to ban them, and the US’s FDA prohibited electronic cigarette product shipments from being able to enter the country, under the premise that these types of products required formal registration. Electronic cigarette companies were quick to retaliate though, believing firmly in their products. Lawsuits were filed against the FDA, and retailers and manufacturers rallied together to create the Electronic Cigarette Association to ensure any legislation involving regarding electronic cigarettes would be honest and just.
Throughout the course of the year, electronic cigarette companies and the FDA went back and forth regarding the products.
The FDA was staunch in their belief that electronic cigarettes were potentially dangerous, and that with no regulation, these products were free to be mislabeled. Oregon and California banned sales of electronic cigarettes altogether under this premise. One bold Oregon attorney went so far as to file a lawsuit against one manufacturer, claiming their products were being marketed to minors due to the offering of flavored vapor.
At the same time, a study from an independent consulting firm was released, showing total opposite findings to the FDA’s claim that electronic cigarettes were dangerous.
In the winter of 2009, New Jersey put into play a selective ban on electronic cigs, prohibiting them from being used in public. Simultaneously, the Consumer Advocates for Smoke-Free Alternatives Association was created as a support group for the industry, promoting honest research and education about the value of electronic cigarettes as legitimate alternatives to tobacco cigarettes. Another aspect of their mission has been to voice against untrue claims the FDA has made. Considering the FDA has allowed traditional cigarettes to be sold on account of the billions of dollars they bring in, yet are proven to kill, how much power should they really hold when it comes to determining the fate of products meant to help smokers enjoy nicotine without the negatives associated with smoke?
Electronic cigarettes are still making history in 2013.
Millions of people have opted for them, and many more are making the switch. While many people are still dealing with electronic cigarette bans in their states, they are still being sold throughout the U.S. Regardless of how the politics play out, it is apparent that smokers want viable alternatives to cigarettes, and electronic cigarettes are clearly working for many!