A growing number of celebrities have been spotted using electronic cigarettes recently including fashionista Alexa Chung, supermodel Kate Moss, Robbie Williams and One Direction’s Zayn Malik.
Robert Pattinson has been seen vaping in the past few months and was reportedly introduced to them by convert Leonardo DiCaprio who has been vaping for years.
Simon Cowell also has a long-standing relationship with electronic cigarettes after he started using them to try and cut down on his reported 40 a day cigarette habit. In America, actress Katherine Heigl has been using them since 2008 and even vaped live on the David Letterman show.
The number of people using electronic cigarettes in the UK has increased steadily over the past couple of years with more and more people choosing to ‘vape’.
But what are electronic cigarettes?
Electronic cigarettes are battery powered devices which heat a water-based nicotine e-liquid solution inside the device, until it becomes hot enough to turn into a vapour. Users can then inhale and exhale this water-based vapour in much the same way as smoking a traditional tobacco cigarette. E-cigarettes use the same hand to mouth physical action as smoking and offer users a nicotine ‘hit’.
Marketed as a smoking alternative they do not contain tobacco and are not affected by the UK smoking ban. Legally you can use the devices indoors although it is up to each individual business whether or not they allow their use. It was recently announced that by 2016 electronic cigarettes in the UK will be regulated as medicine and will have to pass a number of strict criteria in order to be approved for sale.
E-cigarettes were originally invented in 2003 by Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik, a heavy smoker he was inspired to design the device after his father, also a heavy smoker died from lung cancer. He began exporting his products overseas and is credited with creating the first generation e-cig.
A decade later there are a whole range of electronic cigarette devices and brands available.
So how do they work? The technology behind electronic cigarettes comprises of three main components.
The battery which powers the device, the vapour device which heats the e-liquid solution and the refill capsule or e-liquid chamber which holds the e-liquid and in some models acts as a mouthpiece through which to inhale the vapourised e-liquid. The e-liquid is available in a range of flavours and different nicotine strengths.
Most e-cigs have a coloured LED light on the end which illuminates when in use. Disposable e-cigarettes are designed to be thrown away after use and provide a convenient vaping option. Rechargeable models can be refilled and offer a cost-effective option.
The electronic cigarette industry is one which has seen rapid growth and it will be interesting to see what new technological advancements will be released in the future and which direction the industry takes.