The healthcare industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by telemedicine, real-time diagnostics, smart hospitals and access to digital therapies, and the growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT), augmented reality (AR), robotics and data management practices. In the last three years alone, there have been over 106,000 patents filed and granted in the healthcare industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in Healthcare: Vaping devices.

However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilising and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

200+ innovations will shape the healthcare industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the healthcare industry using innovation intensity models built on over 443,000 patents, there are 200+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, specimen collection devices, ultrasound imaging system, and automated laboratory systems are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Biological sampling devices, endoscopic ultrasound tomography, and NMR imaging systems are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are doppler ultrasound imaging and CT-guided surgery, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for the healthcare industry

Vaping devices is a key innovation area in healthcare

Vaping devices, commonly electronic powered, generate an aerosol containing nicotine, flavourings, and other substances. They may imitate USB memory sticks, pens, cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. Puffing activates the battery-powered heating element in many e-cigarettes, vapourising the cartridge or reservoir liquid. The resulting aerosol or vapour is inhaled.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 10+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established healthcare companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of vaping devices.

Key players in vaping devices – a disruptive innovation in the healthcare industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to vaping devices

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
British American Tobacco 225 Unlock company profile
Syqe Medical 72 Unlock company profile
AYR 46 Unlock company profile
JUUL Labs 40 Unlock company profile
Beyond Twenty 29 Unlock company profile
Luna Innovations 25 Unlock company profile
Grupo Ferrer Internacional 23 Unlock company profile
Japan Tobacco 21 Unlock company profile
Philip Morris International 18 Unlock company profile
Imperial Brands 14 Unlock company profile
Airgraft 11 Unlock company profile 9 Unlock company profile
GoFire 7 Unlock company profile
Indose 7 Unlock company profile
JJ 206 7 Unlock company profile
Johnson & Johnson 5 Unlock company profile
Pneuma Respiratory 5 Unlock company profile
Omega Life Science 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

British American Tobacco is one of the leading patent filers in the field of vaping device. Some other key patent filers in the field include Syqe Medical and AYR.

In terms of application diversity, AYR leads the pack, followed by Johnson & Johnson, and Syqe Medical. By means of geographic reach, Omega Life Science holds the top position, followed by Pneuma Respiratory and Syqe Medical in second and third spots, respectively.

There has been much debate over the safety of e-cigarette usage and its potential as a smoking cessation therapy. Furthermore, it has been observed that the heating process might result in the production of new breakdown chemicals of unknown toxicity. The orientation of the machine-vaping device suggests that it may have an impact on aerosol production, and this lessens the possibility of e-liquid leaking and encourages better wicking. The future of vape devices completely relies on the outcomes of studies related to the impact of vaping on the human body.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the healthcare industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Healthcare.


GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.