The first reference to an e-cigarette appeared in 1930 in a patent of Joseph Robinson. The
device, however, was never commercialised. In 1963, Herbert A. Gilbert presents a device as a cigarette, without smoke, and without tobacco, which implies replacing the combustion process with flavoured heated air. The device was later on manufactured as a prototype, however, it never reached production stage.

HokLik, a Chinese pharmacist is considered to be the inventor of the electronic cigarette. In 2003 he had the idea to utilise an electronic device to vapour nicotine containing liquid, in a solution of propylene glycol. This device was producing vapour similar to cigarette smoke, and was transporting the nicotine into the blood system through inhaling. In 2003 this device is patented and in 2004 production begins and brings it to the Chinese market. In 2005 production and marketing spread to the USA and Europe.

In these nearly two decades since the first device reached the market, vaping continues to develop and carries on helping millions of smokers to quit.