Who Invented Vaping

This article is an in depth look into the start of vaping. We take a look at who created vaping and when. By looking at contributions from Herbert A. Gilbert and Hon Lik we better understand just how vaping got started.
Who Invented Vaping

By now many of us are familiar with vaping and have a general understanding of what is vaping. But not many of us actually know who invented vaping and when it was invented. Before we get into who invented vaping, some myths need to be dispelled. Vaping was not created by the big tobacco companies. In fact, many tobacco companies wanted vaping to be banned and in no way wanted vaping devices on the market. The whole myth that these big tobacco companies wanted to use vaping devices to hook kids on nicotine is exactly that, a myth.

So Who Invented Vaping

The truth lies with a man named Herbert A. Gilbert when in 1963 he applied for his first e-cigarette patent. In 1965 it was finally granted to him and he created the first nicotine-free e-cigarette that produced a flavored vapor that replaced the tobacco smoke. While all he was able to produce was prototypes it was still quite the accomplishment. In the 1960s people were not worried about the detrimental effects of cigarettes at all so there was not a market for his device. He was well ahead of his time, his ideas surpassed the knowledge on cigarettes and their effects and the technological capabilities of the time. The man who invented vaping had no real way of making his device practical. The batteries at the time were inefficient and lacked the capabilities to make his devices work the way he intended them to.

Nevertheless, Herbert A. Gilbert laid the foundation of modern-day vaping. Without this foundation vaping may not exist today as we know it.

Contributions from Hon Lik

After approximately 40 years, Gilbert’s invention finally took the spotlight again. This time a Chinese man called Hon Lik took the invention even further. After his father passed away from lung cancer, Hon himself decided to stop smoking and create a device to help him quit. Lik tried a vaporizing system which would vaporize the liquid into something that can be inhaled as a vapor. After much experimentation, he settled on two liquids that we still use today in our e-liquid bases. One is Vegetable Glycerin and the other Propylene Glycol. Once Lik found the right liquids it was time to build a system that would allow him to vape his liquid.

Lik was fortunate because by 2001 lithium batteries had been created and he now had the capability to power his device for much longer periods of time. This new battery was lighter, faster, and cheaper and this allowed for Lik to make use of them in his vaping devices. Hon first planned on using an ultrasonic emitter to vape his e-liquid. High-frequency vibrations would turn a stream of the liquid into a vapor which could then be inhaled. But in 2004 when his first design was released it did not use this concept. Instead, he used the atomizer coil, which heats the liquid. This is the same concept Herbert A. Gilbert used in his devices. To this day this we use this same basic system in the vaping devices we enjoy.

Other Contributors

While Gilbert and Lik deserve the credit, there are also a few other key players. Umer and Tariq Sheikh created the cartomizer. They essentially combined the cartridge and the atomizer. And Matt and Ted Rogers developed the first mod. Both of these contributions are significant to the vaping community but don’t come anywhere near Lik or Gilbert. They are the fathers of vaping and deserve the credit. Gerbert came up with the initial design and idea and Lik had the know-how and technology around him to make it happen. Together they have created one of the most talked about and popular items of the 21st century.


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