Skip to content


All we have today in terms of Vaping can be traced back to one single visionary, Hon Lik a Chinese pharmacist and tinkerer. Hon was spurred on not only by his steady decline in health, but the fact he had seen his own father die early due to lung cancer he knew there had to be a solution. Hon started his quest in early 2003 and by 2006 had the worlds first smokeless cigarette that was ready to go to market. The first E-Cigarette was relatively simple: it contained a battery, a single cartridge which held the first coil and a mix of nicotine solution suspended in propylene glycol. No flavour was included in the first prototype as Hon deemed it unnecessary, oh how things have changed!

Whilst Hon’s E-Cigarette was revolutionary, like all good things it has improved over time. Box-mods, Mech-mods, Sub-Ohm, DTL, MTL, Salt NIC, Freebase and Squonking is one hell of a mouthful. The acronyms can seem intimidating to the first time vaper but they needn’t be, each device was developed to suit a certain type of E-liquid. This blog will take a look back at the evolution of E-liquid and subsequent Vaping devices.

The dark ages of vaping

The dark ages of vaping

Disposable E-Cigarretes (Cig-A-Likes)

Much like Edmund Hillary’s first climb was at his school playground todays high end vaping device had to start somewhere too. Sleek and modeled off a Tailor made Cigarette the first Cig-A-Likes were Slim and similar in shape and size to a conventional cigarette. Unfortunately, they were only single use with tiny battery capacity and once the E-liquid ran out you had to throw away the cartridge. It was unlikely the battery would last you longer than a day and carrying around the wall charger was hardly ideal.

The e-liquid range itself was very limited in flavour and cloud production. It wasn’t long before users demanded something better and their thirst for new technology meant both devices and their E-liquids simply had to evolve.

Gen 2: The first evolution

Gen 2: The first evolution

Due to the demand for new and wonderful flavours and variable nicotine strengths the next evolution in vape devices needed a refillable tank and replaceable coil.

Now that you could add any type of e-liquid into these devices a whole new subcategory of vendors would flourish. E-liquid manufacturing companies started to pop up all over the place. These new manufacturers started making e-liquids that had complex flavours, higher/lower nicotine strengths and even mixed up the PG/VG ratios.

Vaping had just become customisable, vapers could decide how much nicotine they needed, and in which flavour they liked to vape this with, not only that but they could also decide how much throat hit they wanted by adjusting the PG level!

A common myth with vaping is for first timers to choose their device first and then pick and e-liquid they like to go in it, this is absolutely the wrong way to do it! You need to choose an e-liquid that suits your vaping palate first and then find a device that will work well with your e-liquid. Too often vapers will buy the wrong device for the wrong e-liquid and end up back smoking their old reliable Port Royal pouch within the week.

There was already a thriving community of vendors who operated in a somewhat legal grey area, but in June 2018 a court case known as Ministry of Health v Philip Morris made it clear cut: vaping (and heat-not-burn tobacco products) were legal! Despite winning the case, Phillip Morris bowed out - citing uncertainties around the unregulated market. We should be proud of the first E-Liquid manufacturing companies in New Zealand. They took the pioneering steps to build the industry from the ground up and it has been a long road from 0 to over 200,000 vaping, ex-smokers at NO cost to the tax payer! Impending regulations will raise the standard in E-Liquid manufacturing, marketing and devices, the New Zealand Government is finally getting its act together to protect vapers and not demonise them.


E-liquid development has evolved rapidly in the last few years. Nicotine salts have surpassed flavour chasing and sub-ohm vaping as the most talked about breakthrough since Hon Lik puffed away on his first Cig-a-like. There is big future for all of these useful tools for ex-smokers to live healthier lifestyles.

Current legislation in some parts of the world associates E-Liquid with tobacco and this means sharing the same harsh penalties that tobacco smokers face. We need to break the association with tobacco smoking if we want vaping to come out of the shadows and into the limelight it deserves in the medical world. If you can help your vaping brothers and sisters around the world then do what you can, recommend flavours, devices, sign a petition, or even write a letter to your local politician if you live in one of these places.

The future of E-liquids in New Zealand will see a major change in the manufacturing standards. Vapers need to know the juice they are puffing on has been made in strict quality controlled conditions, simple things like batch tracking, clean production environments and emissions testing are on the horizon. Keep an eye out for the opportunity to submit your opinion on E-Liquids and vaping to the NZ Government when they formally announce the proposed regulations in late 2019.

It’s been less than two decades since Hon Liks first cloud and we have already achieved so much together, where do you see vaping going in the next two decades? Let us know in the comments below.