Hon Lik

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Han Li (Hon Lik)
Native name韩力
Born (1951-09-26) September 26, 1951 (age 67)
Shenyang, Liaoning, China
Known forInventor of the modern electronic cigarette

Han Li or Hon Lik (Chinese: 韩力; pinyin: Hán Lì; Cantonese Yale: Hon Lik) (born September 26, 1951) is a Chinese pharmacist who invented the modern electronic cigarette.[1]

Early life[edit]

Hon graduated from the Liaoning College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in 1982, majoring in pharmacy. After that, he joined the Liaoning Academy.[2]



After graduation, Hon spent ten years in a state enterprise for plant agriculture, during which he manufactured a ginseng plant known as an aphrodisiac.

In 2001, while using high-dose nicotine patches to rid himself of the habit of smoking, Hon devised a system on a large console, using food additives as solvents. At the time he was working on vaporization by ultrasound. The droplets formed were too big to resemble tobacco smoke and so he used resistance heating, which got better results. The challenge was managing to scale the mechanism down to a miniature size, suitable for a hand-held cigarette-sized device, and getting the right dose of nicotine, while also getting the right odors from harmless additives.

In 2003,[3] he came up with the idea of using a high frequency, piezoelectric ultrasound-emitting element to vaporize a pressurized jet of liquid containing nicotine.[4] This design creates a smoke-like vapor that delivers nicotine.[1] Hon filed the first patent in 2003 in China for the device.[5] The first electronic cigarette was manufactured the following year in Beijing, China[3] using an ultra-sound technology.[6] It did not have the vaporization system used today but was instead based on atomization, which vaporizes liquids through the heating produced by the electricity of the battery.[4] Most e-cigarettes today use a battery-powered heating element rather than the ultrasonic technology patented design from 2003.[6]

Hon owned only 0.79% of the shares of the company.[citation needed] After the financial crisis of 2007, it was bought by a company in Hong Kong, Dragonite. The aim was to sell the invention to the British tobacco giant Imperial Tobacco, for about 55 million euros. In 2014 the inventor was still awaiting royalties due to multiple lawsuits in the United States and Europe.[2]

Hon was nominated as the 2010 Kcancer Hero candidate for his invention of the e-cigarette.[7]

Hon is also a co-founder of Dragonite International Limited (Golden Dragon Group Holdings Ltd) and he also served as its Chief Executive Officer from October 15, 2005 to October 30, 2013. Hon has been Vice-Superintendent of Liaoning Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine since 1990 and was a Director of Weston Technologies Corp. since October 15, 2003 as well.[8]

Hon sees the e-cigarette as comparable to the "digital camera taking over from the analogue camera."[9] He has said "My fame will follow the development of the e-cigarette industry. Maybe in 20 or 30 years I will be very famous."[9] Hon said in 2013 that "I really hope that the large international pharmaceutical groups get into manufacturing electronic cigarettes and that authorities like the FDA in the United States will continue to impose stricter and stricter standards so that the product will be as safe as possible."[5]

Hon is now said to be working on a new concept called e-hookah for the Middle Eastern and North African markets.[5]


  1. ^ a b "A high-tech approach to getting a nicotine fix". Los Angeles Times. April 25, 2009. Retrieved November 28, 2014.
  2. ^ a b Grangerau, Philippe. "Hon Lik, vapeur sous pression". Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  3. ^ a b Mary Bellis (2015). "Who Invented Electronic Cigarettes?". About.com.
  4. ^ a b "Electronic Atomization Cigarette". Worldwide.espacenet.com. 22 November 2007.
  5. ^ a b c Sridi, Nicolas (10 July 2013). "I was sure that the electronic cigarette would be welcomed with open arms". Sciences et Avenir.
  6. ^ a b Bhatnagar, A.; Whitsel, L. P.; Ribisl, K. M.; Bullen, C.; Chaloupka, F.; Piano, M. R.; Robertson, R. M.; McAuley, T.; Goff, D.; Benowitz, N. (24 August 2014). "Electronic Cigarettes: A Policy Statement From the American Heart Association". Circulation. 130 (16): 1418–1436. doi:10.1161/CIR.0000000000000107. PMID 25156991.
  7. ^ HARRIMAN. "Hon Lik – 2010 Kcancer Hero Nominee". PRLog. Retrieved March 22, 2010.
  8. ^ "Background Hon Lik". www.businessweek.com. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  9. ^ a b Tom Hancock (1 October 2013). "China's e-cigarette inventor fights for financial rewards". Fox News Channel.