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Vaping is a relatively new practice that involves inhaling and exhaling aerosol produced by an electronic device, such as an e-cigarette, disposable vapes, pod-based system or mod.

Vaping has become increasingly popular in the past decade, especially among young adults and former smokers. However, vaping is also controversial, as its health effects, regulation and social implications are still being debated.

In this article, we will explore the history and evolution of the vaping culture and industry, and how they have shaped the current landscape of vaping.

The Origins of Vaping

The idea of using an electronic device to vaporize a liquid substance dates back to the 1920s, when Joseph Robinson patented a device that he called an “electric vaporizer”. However, his invention was never commercialized and remained obscure.

The first modern e-cigarette was invented by Hon Lik, a Chinese pharmacist, in 2003. He was motivated by his own addiction to smoking and the death of his father from lung cancer.

He designed a device that used a battery-powered heating element to vaporize a nicotine solution, which he called “Ruyan”, meaning “like smoke”. He patented his invention in China and later sold it to a company called Dragonite International.

The Rise of Vaping Industry

The e-cigarette market expanded rapidly after Hon Lik's invention, as more companies entered the field and developed different types of devices and e-liquids.

According to Euromonitor, the number of adult vapers worldwide increased from about seven million in 2011 to 41 million in 2018, and is expected to reach almost 55 million by 2021.

The global market for vapes and related products is now estimated to be worth $19.3 billion, up from $6.9 billion in 2014.

The United States, United Kingdom and France are the biggest markets for vaping products, accounting for more than half of the global spending.

The industry is also characterized by innovation and diversity, as there are three broad classifications of vaping devices: disposable (cig-a-like), closed reusable (vape pen, pod-based) and open reusable (mod).

Each type of device has its own advantages and disadvantages, such as battery life, functionality, cost and appearance.

Moreover, there are thousands of flavors and strengths of e-liquids available on the market, catering to different preferences and needs of vapers.

The Emergence of Vaping Culture

Along with the growth of vaping industry, a vaping culture also emerged among some users who adopted vaping as a lifestyle choice, a hobby or a form of self-expression.

Vaping culture is influenced by various factors, such as motivations for use, identity formation, social interaction and community involvement.

Vaping culture can be seen in various aspects, such as:

Vaping Terminology

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Vapers have developed their own language to describe their devices, e-liquids, techniques and experiences.

For example, “cloud chasing” refers to producing large amounts of vapor; “sub-ohming” refers to using low-resistance coils to increase power output; “steeping” refers to aging e-liquids to enhance their flavor; “throat hit” refers to the sensation felt in the throat when inhaling vapor; “dry hit” refers to inhaling vapor when the coil is not sufficiently saturated with e-liquid.

Vaping Media

Vapers have created various forms of media to share information, opinions, reviews and tips about vaping products and practices.

For example, there are numerous blogs, podcasts, YouTube channels, Instagram accounts and Facebook groups dedicated to vaping topics. Some of these media outlets have gained popularity and influence among vapers and even non-vapers.

Vaping Events

Vapers have organized and participated in various events to celebrate vaping culture and community. For example, there are vape expos, conventions, festivals and competitions that showcase the latest products, trends and talents in the vaping industry.

Some of these events also feature educational sessions, advocacy campaigns and charitable causes related to vaping.

Vaping Subcultures

Vapers have formed different subcultures based on their identities, preferences and practices. For example,

•  Cloud chasers: These are vapers who enjoy producing large clouds of vapor with high-powered devices and low-resistance coils. They often modify their devices or build their own coils to achieve optimal performance. They may also participate in cloud competitions or post videos of their cloud tricks online.

•  Substitutes: These are vapers who use e-cigarettes as a substitute for smoking or as a harm reduction tool. They often prefer devices that resemble cigarettes or that are easy to use and maintain. They may also choose e-liquids that mimic the taste or sensation of smoking.

•  Hobbyists: These are vapers who enjoy experimenting with different devices, e-liquids and techniques. They often collect or customize their devices or make their own e-liquids. They may also seek out new products or flavors or share their discoveries with other vapers.

The Challenges of Vaping Culture and Industry

Despite the popularity and diversity of vaping culture and industry, they also face various challenges from different sources.

Health Risks

The long-term health effects of vaping are still unknown, as there is not enough scientific evidence or consensus on the safety or harm of vaping compared to smoking or other forms of delivery.

Some studies have suggested that vaping may have some benefits for smokers who want to quit or reduce their consumption, but others have raised concerns about the potential risks of exposure to nicotine, chemicals, metals and contaminants in e-cigarettes and their impact on the respiratory, cardiovascular, neurological and reproductive systems.

There have been reports of acute lung injuries, illnesses and deaths linked to vaping, especially among young people who used black market or adulterated products containing THC or vitamin E acetate.


The legal status and regulation of vapes vary widely across countries and regions, depending on how they are classified and perceived by authorities and public health agencies.

Some countries have banned or restricted the sale, use or advertising of vapes, citing health concerns, youth appeal or tobacco control policies.

The regulation of vaporizers may affect the availability, quality, price and variety of vaping products and practices, as well as the rights and responsibilities of vapers, manufacturers, retailers and regulators.

Social Stigma

The social acceptance and perception of vaping are also influenced by various factors, such as cultural norms, media representations, personal experiences and moral judgments.

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Some people may view vaping as a positive, fun or fashionable activity, while others may view it as a negative, addictive or harmful behavior.

Some people may support vaping as a personal choice, a hobby or a harm reduction strategy, while others may oppose it as a public nuisance, a gateway drug or a tobacco industry tactic.

The social stigma associated with vaping may affect the self-image, identity formation, social interaction and community involvement of vapers.

Conclusion on Vaping Culture

The vaping culture has evolved rapidly in the past decade, as more people have adopted vaping as a practice that involves not only inhaling and exhaling aerosol produced by an electronic device, but also expressing their personality, interests and values.

Vaping culture has also created various opportunities for innovation, diversity and community among vapers, as well as challenges for health, regulation and social acceptance among non-vapers.

As vaping continues to grow in popularity and complexity, it is important to understand its history and evolution, as well as its current landscape and future prospects.

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