The following is a guest post by Teresa Mackey
Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs as they’re commonly known, have spawned a new industry in the wake of tobacco bans that are spreading throughout the world. People who once smoked pipes, cigars, or conventional cigarettes have turned to e-cigs or hookahs as a solution that allows them to enjoy smoking in places where tobacco is not allowed.
Few people realize that today’s smokeless cigarettes merge the ancient tradition of hookah smoking with modern technology to create the product that’s spawned a new industry.
A hookah is a tobacco-delivery device that uses a clay, marble, or metal bowl attached to a glass globe and pipe connected to one or more hoses that transport filtered smoke to the user. When smokers inhale, the tobacco in the bowl is filtered through the globe, which contains water or liquids that can imbue the smoke with flavor and to remove impurities. Flavored tobaccos are also used to change the way tobacco tastes.
First invented in Persia around the sixteenth century, hookahs quickly became a status symbol among aristocrats in both Persia and northern India. From there, hookah use spread to distant parts of the world. Today, hookahs range from plain and functional to elaborately decorated devices that are proudly displayed by their owners.
Hookah smoking can pose problems for people in tobacco-restricted areas. Like traditional cigarettes, pipes, and cigars, hookah users exhale smoke. Since tobacco bans aim to create a smoke-free environment, hookah use is typically banned as well. In addition, hookahs are fragile and difficult to carry because of their glass components, attached tubing, and their size (while some are reasonably small, they are often two or more feet tall and can be nearly as tall as a full grown adult.)
Electronic cigarettes were first invented in the U.S. in 1963, but were never marketed due to low demand. Also known as vaporless or smoke-free cigarettes, they use the same principles as a hookah to provide nicotine users with an experience that closely resembles smoking a cigarette.
When a smoker puffs on an e-cig, a battery powers a light and heater. The light at the end of the device resembles the burning tobacco of a traditional cigarette. The heater vaporizes a liquid that contains water, nicotine and any flavor enhancements that may have been added. The battery and cartridge of liquid are contained within the cigarette itself, mimicking the look and feel of a “regular” cigarette. Some brands use replaceable cartridges, while some units are entirely disposable.
By merging nicotine and delivering it through a mechanism that creates vaporized steam that’s not a result of direct burning, e-cigs combine modern technology with an ancient tradition to provide smokers with a smoke-free, ash-free, flavorful experience.
Smokers are taking to the new product that merges historic practices with modern ones. Last year, more than 2.5 million smokeless cigarettes were sold worldwide, and that number’s expected to quadruple by the end of 2013, according to the Tobacco Vapor Electronic Cigarette Association. The agency reports that approximately 20 million disposable cartridges and 10 million disposable cigarettes are sold weekly in the United States.
About the Author:
Guest post contributed by Teresa Mackey on behalf of BluCigs.com. More details on their ecig range can be found on their website.