Saturday, September 14, 2013

E-Cigarettes Make Their Mark in Morocco

Simple to recharge - just plug it in to your computer USB port

Modern electronic cigarettes have been around for a while but only now are beginning to be seen more widely in Morocco. At present there are very few outlets selling e-cigarettes and those that are are offering top of the range products at reasonably high prices

A variety of e-cigarettes, USB adaptors and e-juice in Morocco

Due to the lack of outlets many Moroccans are buying on-line or getting visitors to bring them into the country from Europe or the UK.

Mustapha, a 33 year old tech manager in Casablanca told The View from Fez that most people found it difficult to decide on what kind of e-cig to buy and ended up trying several types before making a choice. "There are cartridge brands and others with refillable tanks. I prefer the tank versions as they can be filled with your favourite flavour of e-juice."

"The other problem is the variable quality of battery types," Mustapha says. He says he expects the market to expand rapidly and that prices will come down.

E-cigarette bling!

There are now many novelty products such as e-pipes, e-cigars and even wooden cigarettes. In Fez, Fatima Zohra, an English teacher, says she is pleased to see the designs improving. "The early ones looked like ordinary cigarettes, now they are marketing bling and even steampunk cigs!"

Steampunk e-cigarette

In the UK there are around 1.3 million vapers, as e-cigarette users are called, compared with 700,000 last year.

The market is growing faster than legislation to control it. There is also confusion from country to country. New Zealand has proclaimed it a non-health risk, whereas Australia has decided e-cigs should be classed as poisons.

The early models resembled cigarettes

The earliest electronic cigarettes can be traced to American inventor, Herbert A. Gilbert,who in 1963 patented a device described as "a smokeless non-tobacco cigarette" that involved "replacing burning tobacco and paper with heated, moist, flavoured air." In 1967, Gilbert was approached by several companies interested in manufacturing it, but it was never commercialised and disappeared from the public record after 1967.

Then in 2000 Hon Lik, a Chinese pharmacist, came up with the idea of using a piezoelectric ultrasound-emitting element to vaporise a pressurised jet of liquid containing nicotine diluted in a propylene glycol solution. This design produces a smoke-like vapour that can be inhaled and provides a vehicle for nicotine delivery into the bloodstream via the lungs. He also proposed using propylene glycol to dilute nicotine and placing it in a disposable plastic cartridge which serves as a liquid reservoir and mouthpiece.

The device was first introduced to the Chinese domestic market in May 2004 as an aid for smoking cessation and replacement. The company that Hon Lik worked for, Golden Dragon Holdings, changed its name to Ruyan (如烟, literally "Resembling smoking"), and started exporting its products in 2005–2006 before receiving its first international patent in 2007.

What started as a small market has expanded fast and it won't be long before more outlets appear in Morocco.

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