2003: The electronic cigarette is first developed in Beijing, China by Hon Lik, a 52 year old pharmacist, inventor and smoker. He reportedly invents the device after his father, also a heavy smoker, dies of lung cancer. The company Lik worked for, Golden Dragon Holdings, developed the device and changed their name to Ruyan, which means “like smoke.”
2006: Electronic cigarettes introduced to Europe.
2006-2007: Electronic cigarettes introduced to the U.S.
2008: The World Health Organization proclaims that it does not consider the electronic cigarette to be a legitimate smoking cessation aid, and demand that marketers immediately remove from their materials any suggestions that the WHO considers electronic cigarettes safe and effective.
In a study funded by Ruyan, Health New Zealand conducts a detailed quantitative analysis and concludes that carcinogens and toxicants are present only below harmful levels. On the basis of the findings, the e-cigarette is rated several orders of magnitude (100 to 1000 times) less dangerous than smoking tobacco cigarettes. The nicotine dose is comparable to that of a medicinal nicotine inhaler. Overall, the product tested was deemed a “safe alternative to smoking.”
January 2009: Australia bans the possession and sale of electronic cigarettes which contain nicotine.
March 2009: FDA adds e cigarettes to Import Alert 66-41 and directed the USCBP to reject the entry of electronic cigarettes into the United States.
March 2009: Canada bans the sale, advertising and import of electronic cigarettes and Health Canada advises Canadians not to purchase or use them, claiming they contain a “known irritant” (Propylene Glycol)
March 2009: FDA notifies Smoking Everywhere that their shipments have been refused entry into the U.S. The FDA purports that electronic cigarettes “appears to be a combination drug-device product that requires preapproval, registration and listing with the FDA.
May 2009: Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) files a petition to the FDA, calling for FDA regulation of e-cigs.
May 2009: NJOY joins Smoking Everywhere lawsuit against FDA.
The Electronic Cigarette Association is formed. The ECA is a trade association made up of electronic cigarette producers, distributors and retailers, whose aim is to speak on behalf of the electronic cigarette industry, especially in response to health concerns, and to help institute industry standards. The group is headquartered in Washington, D.C. Its president and spokesman is former United States congressman Matt Salmon.
May 2009: FDA tests 2 brands of electronic cigarettes, NJOY & Smoking Everywhere. 18 cartridges are tested. Tests reveal trace amounts of cancer-causing nitrosamines. One cartridge contains 1% diethylene glycol, a toxic substance. Cartridges labeled as 0mg nicotine are shown to contain nicotine.
June 2009: President Obama signs into law the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act 18, giving the FDA the power to regulate the tobacco industry. Although nicotine and cigarettes as a whole cannot be banned outright, flavoring such as fruit or mint can. Additionally, new tobacco products seeking to enter the market will be required to meet FDA pre-market standards, which could affect electronic cigarette regulation.
June 2009: Panama bans the importation, distribution and sale of electronic cigarettes.
July 2009: FDA files a supplemental brief, in the Smoking Everywhere lawsuit, referencing the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. The FDA contends that it still has authority over electronic cigarettes and they stand behind the decision to label it a drug-device combination and that the “FDA found, after examining the product, the claims made in the product labeling, and information SE submitted to FDA, that SE’s product met the definition of both a drug and device under the FDCA.”
July 2009: Two months after testing, the FDA issues a press release discouraging the use of electronic cigarettes and repeating previously stated concerns that electronic cigarettes may be marketed to young people, lack appropriate health warnings and that they contain carcinogens and toxic chemicals such as diethylene glycol, an ingredient used in antifreeze.
July 2009: FDA’s May 2009 study is reviewed by scientific consulting firm Exponent, Inc., in a report commissioned by NJOY. Some of the criticisms in Exponent’s report are poor standards of documentation and analysis and failure to perform relevant comparisons to FDA-approved nicotine replacement therapy products, which Exponent claims contain TSNA levels comparable to those of electronic cigarettes. The study concludes that the FDA’s claims of potential adverse health effects were not supported by the study.
August 2009: The State of Oregon files two settlements that prevent two national travel store chains, Pilot Travel Centers and TA Operating, from selling NJOY electronic cigarettes. In addition, the company must give the Attorney General advance notice that they intend to sell electronic cigarettes in Oregon, provide copies of all electronic cigarette advertising, and provide copies of the scientific studies they maintain substantiates their claims. NJOY voluntarily stops all sales in Oregon.
August 2009: Oregon Attorney General John Kroger files a lawsuit against Smoking Everywhere, alleging that the Florida-based “electronic cigarette” company made false health claims about its nicotine delivery device and targeted children with sweet flavors. Smoking everywhere refuses to settle.
September 2009: California passes a bill to ban the sales of electronic cigarettes in the state. Governor Schwarzenegger vetoes the bill stating, “If adults want to purchase and consume these products with an understanding of the associated health risks, they should be able to do so unless and until federal law changes the legal status of these tobacco products.”
October 2009: Consumer Advocates for Smokefree Alternatives Association forms and board members elected. The organization is made up of both consumers and retailers, with the mission to ensure the availability of effective, affordable and reduced harm alternatives to smoking by increasing public awareness and education; to encourage the testing and development of products to achieve acceptable safety standards and reasonable regulation; and to promote the benefits of reduced harm alternatives.
October 2009: UK ASH recognizes that products should be made available that deliver nicotine in a safe way, without the harmful components found in tobacco, but those attempting to quit should use conventional NRTs.
December 2009: New Jersey State legislators pass a bill including electronic cigarettes in the state’s public smoking ban. NJOY announces it is discontinuing, in the U.S., the availability of all flavors except its traditional tobacco flavor and menthol. The move aligns the flavors offered by NJOY with those allowed for combustible tobacco cigarettes under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.
2010: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classified electronic cigarettes as drug delivery devices and subject to regulation under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) prior to importation to and sale in the United States. The classification was challenged in court, and overruled in January 2010, stating that the FDA can only regulate electronic cigarettes as tobacco products, and thus cannot block their import.
Arpil 2011: the FDA announced that it will investigate how it can regulate e-cigarettes as tobacco products. This decision came after a U.S. Court of Appeals decision that the FDA cannot regulate e-cigarettes as a drug delivery device, which is how nicotine replacement products are regulated. The District of Columbia Circuit appeals court declined to review the decision blocking the products from FDA regulation as medical devices on 24 January 2011.
2012-Under laws currently in existence, the use of electronic cigarettes are considered legal. Under the Indian Health Law of 2006 smoking has been banned in public. This law states that smoking of tobacco in any form, whether in the form of cigarettes, cigar, beedi or otherwise with the aid of a pipe, wrapper or any other instruments is illegal. As e cigarettes avoids the use of tobacco or any of its products it does not fall under this law and as all the contents of an e cigarettes are legal to use in public the e cigarette is considered legal to use until new laws have been passed.