|US Patent 3,200,819 from 1965|
But did you know that there is a "pre-history" of vaping?
At the left is an image from a 1965 patent application for an e-cigarette (full information here). Invented by Herbert A. Gilbert (who is still alive today - I found this because he did an interview somewhere) this e-cigarette patent is one of the reasons that modern "big tobacco" doesn't own the "vaping" market (nor can the Chinese inventors of the modern vape).
To patent something today related to e-cigarettes you have to show that there is no "prior art." Prior art meaning that no one has either already invented or sold your idea commercially.
Since this patent covers the basic modern notion of a e-cigarette quite well so there isn't much room for new invention in terms of new patents. Of course, you can always invent new details or mechanisms (a sharper razor) to accomplish some part of the vaping process better, but you can't claim "invention" (and hence control over) the basic concept.
The patent description says: "The present invention relates to a smokeless nontobacco cigarette and has for an object to provide a safe and harmless means for and method of smoking by replacing burning tobacco and paper with heated, moist, flavored air; or by inhaling warm medication into the lungs in case of a respiratory ailment under direction of a physician. Another object of the invention is to provide an article of manufacture resembling a cigarette by which air may be drawn through a porous substance of a cartridge which has been moistened with a chemically harmless flavoring preparation, combining moisture and taste following which the moist and flavored air passes through a section of the device heated by a suitable heating element so that warm, moist and flavored air is drawn into the mouth and if desired into the lungs of the user."
But pre-history doesn't end there.
There is a peer-reviewed scientific journal called "Tobacco Control" (from the main page Tobacco Control describes itself as "Tobacco Control is an international peer review journal covering the nature and consequences of tobacco use worldwide; tobacco's effects on population health, the economy, the environment, and society; efforts to prevent and control the global tobacco epidemic through population level education and policy changes; the ethical dimensions of tobacco control policies; and the activities of the tobacco industry and its allies").
From 2003 you'll find an article titled "Estimating the health consequences of replacing cigarettes with nicotine inhalers."
The Background section of the paper describes: "A fast acting, clean nicotine delivery system [ed. note Vaping] might substantially displace cigarettes. Public health consequences would depend on the subsequent prevalence of nicotine use, hazards of delivery systems, and intrinsic hazards of nicotine."
And the conclusions?
"Clean nicotine inhalers [ed. note Vaping?] might improve public health as much as any feasible tobacco control effort. Although the relevant risk estimates are somewhat uncertain, partial nicotine deregulation deserves consideration as part of a broad tobacco control policy."
Though they don't describe what a "clean nicotine inhaler" is in any detail - they really did not exist in 2003 - the conclusion here is, in my opinion, that is what is called "Vaping" today will "improve public health" as much as any tobacco policy.
What does this mean?
Rather than trying to strangle out cigarettes you might be at least as well off providing the public something like "vaping..." to do the same job.
Some food for though.