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ECF History

Discussion in 'The ECF Library' started by rolygate, Mar 11, 2011.

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  1. rolygate

    rolygate Forum Manager Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Sep 24, 2009
    ECF Towers
    Every now and then someone asks about the history of ECF, but we don't have an article on this.

    That should be rectified, so if anyone can help me fill in the blanks, it would be much appreciated. Please email me @admin - see the Contacts page, linked at top and bottom of every page. We especially need info about hardware, vendors, and interesting events.

    Vets: please help out here :)


    We think ECF was born on 11th December 2007 - unless you know different.

    Smokey Joe, an e-cigarette user in London, wanted to find a forum to discuss hardware, liquids, and legislation issues. There was none to be found, so he decided to start one up. At first he used the phpBB webapp, as it is open-source (free) and a test was needed to see if there was anyone out there.

    There weren't many members and everyone more or less knew each other. In fact they used to go round each other's place for tea.
    [Not really - even England is slightly too big for that... ]

    Hardware: only mini and super-mini ecigs were available. (The 'super-mini' was even smaller than a mini.)
    Only the 3-piece system was available: battery-atomiser-cartridge.
    In general, ecigs were a shadow of what we now regard as normal: underpowered, inefficient, leaky, problematic in every area.

    E-Liquid: Dekang ruled the refill liquids scene. The bulk of sales were pre-filled cartridges.

    Modding: at this time, modding consisted almost entirely of trying to get the 3-piece system to work properly by modifying the cartridge. (Sad but true.) Modding is important to ecig history because it provided both the impetus and the mechanism for technical improvements; essentially, these happened almost exclusively within the community, not the trade.

    As time passed, more developments came from the trade, but at first it was a community-driven activity. In fact you could draw out a timeline of ecig improvements and it would look like this: Han Li* >> ECF modders >> small-scale Western enterprises >> large Asian enterprises.
    * The inventor of the modern ecig but more importantly the main driver behind its uptake, his name is often seen spelled 'Hon Lik' but that is not how he himself writes it in Western script.

    Membership grew. ECF was the place to find info on your new 901 mini. You could only buy a 901 at that time anyway (sort of).

    The forum changed over to vBulletin software in June.

    ECF was by now a busy forum, and at the end of 2008 there were several thousand visitors a day. By this time there were more US than UK members.

    Hardware: see the E-Cigarette Wiki for the models available: all were minis, super-minis, and the new penstyles.
    Penstyles, while still being a 3-piece system, were an attempt to address some of the worst faults of the minis: extremely poor battery life and liquid reservoir capacity. Most penstyles were auto units, manuals were unusual.
    The DSE801 is probably the typical penstyle, and had probably the best regular-type atomiser ever produced; it is larger than the 901 and 510 types, and has a better threading/connector arrangement. The market eventually, though, went for the 510 connector system as the benchmark, since sales of minis drove the market at that time, and the 801 system was too large to fit on a mini.

    The website moved to a dedicated server early in the year. Soon there were 5,000 visitors a day.

    By the end of the year, traffic had doubled and there were over 10,000 visitors a day.

    2009 saw the first signs of the FDA's desire to shut down ecigs, with import seizures to prevent the sale of 'unlicensed products'. This was the beginning of government attempts to medicalise ecigs in order to protect pharmaceutical industry income, who were seen as the biggest losers if ecigs took off, at that time (and who had good control of the law and experience in its use to defend against better products and competitors). Protection of the cigarette trade and tobacco tax revenues came later, when the scale of the 'problem' became apparent.

    We first saw, then, in 2009, how the status quo would be rigorously protected by government. Talk of, and promises about, smoking cessation were clearly just that: talk. It was at this point that we first saw that smoking cessation was not supported in practice, unless there was a profit in it somewhere. The real economic cost of ecigs replacing smoking had not even been dreamed of at that stage; but it was becoming clear to government and industry that the pharmaceutical industry would be hurt by ecigs, so action began to be taken to prevent ecigs harming pharma income. At that time the full picture was probably not clear to most people with regard to the threat to pharmaceutical industry revenues: people probably thought that smoking cessation meds sales were mostly at risk. No one had figured out yet that this was just the tip of the iceberg - the real pain would come when smoking-created disease (such as diabetes) and serious illness (such as cancer) began to be reduced by ecig uptake, as that is where the big money is in drug sales. That realisation came later.

    In 2010 ECF moved its web hosting to the USA as most members and traffic came from there by now. be continued
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