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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.

Function[change | change source]

inside view of an atomizer

An E-cigarette is made of 3 parts:

  • a tank holding e-liquid
  • an atomizer heating e-liquid
  • a battery powering the atomizer

The e-liquid (propylene glycol and/or glycerin) is heated to make a vapour which looks like the smoke from real cigarettes. This caries the nicotine to the lungs where it is absorbed.

As of 2015, 3 generations of electonic cigarettes are known:

  1. cigalikes early e-cigarettes look like tobacco cigarettes. They're often thrown away after use.
  2. vapepens have replacable cartriges or refillable tanks. The atomizer parts can be replaced.
  3. mods are powered by laptop cells. They feature complicated electronics or no electronics at all. Their atomizers can be rebuilt with heating wire and cotton.

History[change | change source]

The modern electronic cigarette was invented by Hon Lik (regarded as the 'father of the electronic cigarette')[1], a Chinese pharmacist and inventor. Hon had himself quit smoking, after his father, also a heavy smoker, had died of lung cancer. Hon patented the modern e-cigarette design in 2003, and starting selling it domestically. Many versions made their way to the U.S., sold mostly over the Internet by small marketing firms.

However, many US and Chinese e-cig manufacturers copied his designs illegally, and as a result Hon Lik did not get the expected financial rewards for his invention (although some US manufacturers have recompensated him through out of court settlements).[2]

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.[3]

Starting 2012 Tobbacco companies also want a piece of E-Cigarette-cake and work on their own products. Marlboro goes for heating tobacco, Philip Morris tests a fizz-like method while British American Tobacco tries a medical-like inhaler. Many big tobacco companies didn't do their own research or stopped at some point. Instead they bought smaller e-cig companies to enter the market.

E-Liquid[change | change source]

The liquid used in e-cigs is commonly made of propylene glycol, glycerin, distilled water, artificial (fake) flavors and optionally nicotine. It often tastes like tobacco, fruit, mint/menthol or sweets.

Legal History[change | change source]

Many countries are not approving electronic cigarettes as healthy thing. The sale of tobacco cigarettes with flavor (except menthol) has been stopped 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 persons in general.[4] 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.[5]

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.[6] In the United States of America, individual states have different rules on use and sale of electronic cigarettes.

References[change | change source]

  1. China's e-cigarette inventor fights for financial rewardsAFP, By Tom HANCOCK Published October 01, 2013
  2. China's e-cigarette inventor fights for financial rewardsAFP, By Tom HANCOCK Published October 01, 2013
  3. WHO press release
  4. "E-Cigarette Regulation: A Burning Legal Question". MT E-Cigarette. http://www.mytopecigarettes.com/e-cigarette-regulations/. Retrieved 30 August 2013.
  5. Recent Developments in Tobacco Use
  6. http://electroniccigaretteb.com/electronic-cigarettes-taking-over-the-cigarette-market/


External link[change | change source]