Innovating with e-cigarettes, our outlook on where the technology platforms are developing 

The invention of the modern e-cigarette is widely credited to Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik in the year 2000. The concept of vaporising liquid containing nicotine was introduced to market in May 2004 and made it to UK shores in April 2006. The e-cigarette is made up of three main components: an e-liquid cartridge, a heating coil and a battery. Since then the fundamental principle of vaping has stayed the same but the delivery of the solution to the heating coil has seen some change.

In terms of the e-cigarette device an area that can see dramatic innovation is the battery and charging mechanism. The consumer wants longer battery life with easier/faster charging, induction charging is an option but not economical with current efficiency around the 60% mark. One platform is how the e-cigarette looks and what additional features it has. It’s evident that the cig-alikies from 5 years ago are no longer what the consumer wants. There are hundreds of different designs, some are long and thin whereas some are short and square looking very similar to a camera. A common theme that’s emerging is the inclusion of other technologies such as a time display or even a mini screen showing pictures.

An area that’s very interesting and that not a lot of research is happening is the science behind vaping and mainly the flavours used. Flavours are a very controversial topic mainly due to the unknown vaping toxicological data. Some flavours added are safe for food or digestion though the safety for inhalation is untested and, in many cases, unknown. Companies are assuming food safe flavours to be safe for vaping, but due to both the different mode of ingestion, with unknown modes of metabolisation or expulsion from the lungs and the different delivery method (i.e. heating) in which other chemicals can be formed. These formed chemicals such as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde are known carcinogens, which then start to eat into the benefits of moving from traditional cigarettes to e-cigarettes.

Innovation in this industry is going to explode in the next few months and I’m really excited to be a part of it and running the innovation team here at Nerudia.

David Jones