Hon Lik, life-saving inventor of the e-cigarette, on why he did it
Few people have heard of Hon Lik, which may be a pity because he’s probably saved more lives already than anybody else I even have met. Twelve years ago, he invented vaping — the thought of getting nicotine vapour from an device instead of a miniature bonfire between your lips. Vaping is driving smoking out at a unprecedented rate, promising to realize what decades of public health measures have largely did not do. And it’s doing so without official encouragement, indeed with some official resistance.
Via an interpreter, and sucking on an electronic pipe, Mr Hon told me how it happened. And here is that the key point, the one that panjandrums of public health still seem to miss. He invented vaping so as to prevent smoking, and that is what it’s used for today.
He says he was smoking two packs of cigarettes each day while working as a chemist at the Liaoning Provincial Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine. He thought: ‘How am i able to quit?’ He tried cold turkey several times and failed. In 2001 he tried a nicotine patch but it gave him nightmares when he forgot to require it off in the dark , and it did not replicate the initial rush of a cigarette.
Being a chemist with a penchant for electronics, he went into the laboratory and set about emulating the effect of smoke without a fireplace . The lab where he worked had an honest supply of pure nicotine, used for calibrating other products. He needed to seek out how to vaporise it instantly, and commenced with ultrasound, later turning to a component .
His first machine was a monster. By 2003 he had filed a patent on a smaller, more practical model. ‘I already knew it might be a revolutionary product,’ he told me with a smile. ‘Some in China have called it the fifth invention — after navigation, gunpowder, printing and paper,’ he laughs. ‘But that’s an excessive amount of .’
He visited work on miniaturising the device further, and refining the mechanism for vaporising nicotine in response to a puff. Why did he roll in the hay , I asked. ‘To solve a social problem,’ he replied. ‘Quitting is suffering.’
After eight months of toxicology testing by the Pharmaceutical Authority in Liaoning and by the Chinese military’s medical institute, the merchandise went on sale. There was modest interest in China, but it had been only firms began selling versions in Europe and North America, about eight years ago, that the vaping revolution took off.
Today quite 1,000,000 smokers in Britain have quit by using e-cigarettes, and a minimum of another million have hamper . the amount is growing all the time, and it’s now easily the foremost popular method of quitting tobacco. meaning tons less carcinoma , heart condition , stinky clothing and fire risk. What’s more, none of those people had to urge a prescription, or be subsidised by the taxpayer or treated by the NHS, like other methods of quitting like patches, gum, psychiatry or acupuncture. it is a purely voluntary, private-sector solution.
You would think the general public health authorities would be shouting this from the rooftops, but the Welsh government is trying to ban the utilization of e-cigarettes in enclosed public spaces, British Medical Association remains implacably disapproving, the planet Health Organisation censorious, and therefore the European Commission assail banning refillable versions. …