E-cigarette

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An electronic cigarette (or e-cigarette, e-cig) is a cigarette substitute. It gives small amounts of the chemical nicotine without the tobacco or other chemicals from real cigarettes. The main substances making up in the liquid in the e-cigarettes are nicotine, propylene glycol, glycerin and some flavors or smells.

Chemistry[change | change source]

The propylene glycol or the glycerin are heated to make a vapour which looks like the smoke from real cigarettes. This caries the nicotine to the lungs where it is absorbed.

History[change | change source]

The earliest electronic cigarette can be traced to Herbert A. Gilbert[1], who in 1963 patented a device described as "a smokeless non-tobacco cigarette" that involved "replacing burning tobacco and paper with heated, moist, flavored air." This device heated the nicotine solution and produced steam. In 1967, Gilbert was approached by several companies interested in manufacturing it, but it was never commercialized and disappeared from the public record after.

Stephane Vlachos, a computer science student from the State of Michigan in the United States, is recognized worldwide as the first and true inventor of modern electronic cigarette using an electronic resistance heating a mixture of glycol derivatives and nicotine vapors in a heating chamber but also the designer of the first functional prototype of electronic cigarette. He realized his prototype ​​in 2001 as a way to stop smoking and for his own usage.

Stephane Vlachos is also the inventor of the electronic cigar and pipe. He would also have laid the groundwork and devised the first interchangeable bottle containing a mixture containing glycerol derivatives screwed directly on the top of the device. This "e-liquid" could contain nicotine but also pharmaceuticals. One of his first prototype was exposed at the International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva in 2002.

Stephane Vlachos decided not to patent his idea by respect for the real first inventor Herbert A. Gilbert and despite the fact that his invention was a lot more sophisticated and that Gilbert did not built a prototype.

To finish Stephane Vlachos is widely credited as the first author of the term "electronic cigarette", "electronic cigar" and "electronic pipe". He planed to manufacture the first version of his electronic cigarette in 2004 under the brand Cig-Elec but he was overtaken by his rival and decided not to go on.

Stephane Vlachos is also complaining that his idea has been stolen from him in 2003 by a Chinese girl who proposed him to meet with her uncle in China who was interested by his idea.

Hon Lik, a Chinese pharmacist, is wrongly credited with the invention of the first generation electronic cigarette. Hon Lik claims that he came up in 2003, with the idea of using a piezoelectric ultrasound-emitting element to vaporise a pressurized jet of liquid containing nicotine diluted in a propylene glycol solution. This design produced a smoke-like cold vapour that could be inhaled and provides a vehicle for nicotine delivery into the bloodstream via the lungs. The device was first introduced to the Chinese domestic market in May 2004 as an aid for smoking cessation and replacement. The company that Hon Lik worked for, Golden Dragon Holdings, changed its name to Ruyan (如烟, literally "Resembling smoking"), and started exporting its products in 2005–2006[31] before receiving its first international patent in 2007.

In 2008, this attracted the attention of the World Health Organization (WHO) who said that these e-cigarettes were not proper nicotine replacement therapy and that this mis-information had to be taken away from any sites or advertisements saying that they were.[2]

Ingredients[change | change source]

Substance Recipe 1 Recipe 2 Recipe 3 Recipe 4
Propylene glycol 85% 80% 90% 80%
Nicotine 6% 4% 2% 0.1%
Glycerol 2% 5% - 5%
Tobacco essence - 4% 4.5% 1%
Essence 2% - 1% 1%
Organic acid 1% - - 2%
Anti-oxidation agent 1% - - -
Butyl valerate - 1% - -
Isopentyl hexonate - 1% - -
Lauryl laurate - 0.6% -
Benzyl benzoate - 0.4% - -
Methyl octynicate - 0.5% - -
Ethyl heptylate - 0.2% - -
Hexyl hexanoate - 0.3% - -
Geranyl butyrate - 2% - -
Menthol - 0.5% - -
Citric acid - 0.5% 2.5% -
Water - - - 2.9%
Alcohol - - - 8%

Legal History[change | change source]

Many countries are not approving electronic cigarettes as healthy thing. Tobacco cigarettes with flavor (except menthol) have been banned in some countries but not yet in Europe or the USA. The EU is testing if the product is bad to the health and safety of people.[3] They are also researching if electronic cigarettes can be called a medical product. In 2009 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was provided authority by Congress to ban all sales of cigarettes with flavors, except menthol.[4]

Because many countries are not sure if electronic cigarettes are a medical product, each country has their own opinion and rules on e-cigarettes.

Health institutions are more and more interested in E-cigarettes because they are much cheaper than smoking regular ones, making them popular alternative.[5] In the United States of America, individual states have differing legal treatment of electronic cigarettes.

References[change | change source]

  1. An Interview with the Inventor of the Electronic Cigarette, Herbert A Gilbert
  2. WHO press release
  3. "E-Cigarette Regulation: A Burning Legal Question". MT E-Cigarette. http://www.mytopecigarettes.com/e-cigarette-regulations/. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
  4. Recent Developments in Tobacco Use
  5. http://electroniccigaretteb.com/electronic-cigarettes-taking-over-the-cigarette-market/

(Spanish)