Vaping 2012: A Year in Review

By Steve Kryworuka

2012 will be remembered as the year where electronic cigarettes came into their own and gathered the attention of millions. From debates over safety and efficacy to big tobacco’s foray into the industry, there were countless major industry news items in the media.

So many, in fact, they all couldn’t fit into a single article, or even several articles. We’ve had to be very selective in choosing the highlights from 2012 for this e-cigarette news year in review article. From January to December, there were big stories every month. Let’s start in January 2012 and work our way to the end of the year.



2012 started big with not one, but two studies about e-cigarettes and health being published. One study was positive, the other was also mostly positive, but certain groups exaggerated portions of the study to meet their agendas.



The second month of 2012 didn’t present new studies. However, an incident involving a battery explosion in a personal vaporizer rocked the e-cigarette world and sent the media into a feeding frenzy.

  • A Florida man suffers injuries when the batteries used in his personal vaporizer device explode. Full details of the story are never released, coverage of the incident can be found here (page since removed) and here.
  • A number of traditional e-cigarette companies do their best to distance their product from the enthusiast product that was likely at the root of the Florida incident. Some companies take the opportunity to attack the e-cigarette industry and some vapers alike.
  • The state of Hawaii proposes a staggering 70% tax on e-cigarette related products. Amid a huge outpouring of protest, the state drops the idea.
  • The California Attorney General begins threatening California-based e-liquid sellers and manufacturers with legal action for selling flavored e-liquid.
  • A somewhat unstable airline passenger forces a Portland, Oregon originating flight to turn around. Initial media reports highlight the man was using an e-cigarette and refused to stop. Later reports revealed the man was making terrorist threats and abusing staff.



There were no earth-shattering scandals, or terrorist threats during march. This month did feature a major indoor vaping ban and progress in a much anticipated study.



April was mostly a slow month for e-cigarette news. Except, of course for quite possibly one of the biggest news stories of the year.



May 2012 was sort of a mixed grab-bag of news stories. It briefly looked like the FDA was getting ready to strike. The biggest story was a breakthrough study that came from Greece.

  • A Greek cardiologist releases a study examining the impact of e-cigarettes on the cardiovascular system. The study finds no negative effects as a result. We later interview the doctor about this study and e-cigarettes.
  • In a proposal request, the FDA indicates it will begin regulating e-cigarettes and other tobacco products (page since removed) in the summer of 2012 (the regulations never come to pass in 2012).
  • A Canadian industry group known as the ECTA of Canada launches.
  • For the first time ever, an e-cigarette ban is reversed in Springfield, Missouri.
  • Ruyan begins exerting patent muscle against other e-cigarette companies (page since removed).


Half way through 2012, another study that puts electronic cigarettes in a positive light makes the rounds. Assorted other stories make the rounds as well.



As the summer heat began to ratchet up, so did the intensity of e-cigarette industry news. From stories with global reach, to ones that more impacted the vaping community on a local level, there were a couple of noteworthy things going on this month.


August was a good month for e-cigarette and nicotine studies. It was also a bad month to be an e-cigarette retailer with a Facebook page.


AN An EU report with favourable comments about THR tippexed out. Other favourable sections were rewritten.

The weather started to cool for many people in September, but not the e-cigarette news stories. A negatively spun study from the beginning of the year was finally published. A couple of bloggers do some detective work, some of which will continue to play a role throughout the rest of 2012.



Autumn brought a major scandal in the European Union. In the US, e-liquid manufacturers formed an industry group, and a study finally reached publication after a long journey. Elsewhere in the world, some countries took less enlightened approaches.

  • John Dalli, the commissioner in charge of the tobacco products director resigns amid accusations of knowledge of bribes offered by a snus manufacturer.
  • The community-funded IVAQs (page since removed) study mentioned several times throughout this 2012 review is finally published ending a years long journey.
  • The American E-Liquids Manufacturing Standards Association is started by a small group of small US e-liquid manufacturers to promote safety standards across the industry.
  • The country of Costa Rica considers a complete import ban of electronic cigarette products (page since removed).
  • Qatar’s health ministry issues a circular reminding pharmacies of the country’s ban on e-cigarettes. The memo also claims that e-cigarettes are more dangerous than regular cigarettes.



November was a somewhat slow month with no studies coming out nor any scandals to speak of. The WHO met to discuss e-cigarettes and sought to have member nations ban the devices for a number of odd reasons.



Normally, December tends to be the silly season for e-cigarette industry news. Not so in 2012. The final month of the year brought some of the biggest stories of the entire year.

  • The EU ratifies the Tobacco Products Directive virtually unchanged from the version under Dali’s leadership. e-Cigarettes containing over 4mg per ml will be banned unless they are approved as a medical device.
  • British American Tobacco acquires CN Creative, the parent company of intellicig for an undisclosed amount. This is the second major big tobacco purchase of an e-cigarette company in 2012.
  • A German study finds that passive vapor is possible with electronic cigarettes. Paul Bergen notes that it is likely not a major cause for concern.
  • The FDA holds hearings about nicotine replacement therapies and new product innovation. The majority of speakers were tobacco harm reduction and e-cigarette proponents.
  • Several media outlets take note of one e-cigarette manufacturer’s television commercials touting the ability to vape openly (page since removed). Some reporters don’t understand why the commercials avoid touting health benefits.

2012 in conclusion

The past year was anything but dull. There were countless ups and downs for the e-cigarette industry. In many ways, 2012 was the year electronic cigarettes came into their own. 2013 promises to continue the trend. We won’t speculate here, but we asked 11 prominent members of the vaping community to do just that in our 2013 e-cigarette predictions article.

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