A Brief History of the Vaping Industry’s Growth

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The vaping industry in the United States is almost ten years old! Within these years, it’s grown from almost non-existent to a market that earns millions of dollars each year. It’s remarkable how established it’s become in such a relatively short period of time; in fact, vaping is estimated to become a $10 billion dollar industry by the end of 2017. On Top Distributors alone has a network of 23,000 vapor shops we send our clients’ products out to as well. To give you a full background of how this booming industry got to where it is today, we’ve compiled a short history of vaping from its start to the present.


The very first e-cigarette was patented by Herbert A. Gilbert in the 1960’s. It was developed as an alternative to smoking cigarettes, as it didn’t involve burning tobacco. Instead, flavored air would be inhaled through the device. Due to the popularity of traditional cigarettes during this time period, Gilbert’s e-cigarette was never put out onto the market. There was no need for a healthier substitution during this period of time.

It wasn’t until 2006 that the next e-cigarette invention came about. Hon Lik, devastated by the death of his father due to lung cancer, decided to create a device that could deliver nicotine without the other harmful ingredients found in cigarettes. This e-cigarette was designed with a battery and ultrasonic atomizer to turn liquid into vapor. After being further developed, it found its way into the hands of customers all over the world and truly began the modern vaping industry.

Expansion of the Industry

E-cigarettes were first built with the intent to help cigarette smokers drop the habit for good. Most of them resembled traditional cigarettes and had very poor battery life. The selection of flavors also left a lot to be desired. As time went by, manufacturers started to take advantage of the amazing opportunity these devices provided. They began to produce their own gadgets and enhancements for a better vaping experience. Clearly, the vaporizers of today have come a long way from their initial counterparts.

Customization Rises

As e-cigarettes gained popularity in the 2000’s, there was a demand for products that could be customized. A subculture also started to develop. Many vapers began to modify their devices themselves to get their desired output. For example, a typical flashlight used to be a common e-cigarette battery. While some users looked for more intense vapor clouds, others wanted to experience a stronger flavor. Customization has allowed them to have the personalized experience they want when they vape.

Where the Vaping Industry is Now

There are countless options for batteries, mods, atomizers, and more. Vaping has become so much more than just a way to quit smoking; now, it’s a hobby with a community all over the world. Users are able to customize their vaporizer to perfectly fit their vaping and aesthetic preferences. Any aspect can be modified, ranging from voltage settings to overall design. Vaporizers cost anywhere from $20 to $300, meeting the needs of a wide range of vapers, including both beginners and competitive cloud chasers.

Perhaps the biggest change to the vaping industry has been the recent regulations placed by the FDA. They forbid the sale of vape products to minors, require that each e-liquid must have a labeled list of ingredients and be approved by the FDA through a PMTA, plus several other rules. These new regulations are sure to determine what the future of the vaping industry will be like for years to come.