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English Pub Sells Electronic Cigarettes To Indoor Smokers

Patrick Horan with wires – Herald Sun – AFP, Reuters | September 26, 2008

AN English pub reckons it has the perfect solution to the smoking ban as their winter approaches – an electronic cigarette.

The UK Telegraph reports that the Butler’s Arms near Birmingham is selling the new E.cig, a device that smokes like a real cigarette with users getting a shot of nicotine every time they inhale.

It even produces a cloud of water vapour with every puff.

Electronic cigarettes are usually made of stainless steel and have a chamber for storing liquid nicotine in various concentrations.

Users puff on them as they would a real cigarette but do not light them – rather the cigarettes produce a fine, heated mist which is absorbed into the lungs.

The makers of the product, The Electronic Cigarette Company, claims the gadgets offer a “new generation of healthier smoking”.

The pub’s assistant manager Becky Giles, 18, told the Telegraph: “It is just like a real cigarette but without all the bad elements.

“There is no harm to other people in the bar as no smoke is given out, just water vapour, and there is no smell like with a real cigarette.”

But despite Becky’s considered opinion, the World Health Organisation isn’t so sure, warning the product could prove highly poisonous because it has not been subjected to rigorous scientific tests.

“It’s 100 per cent false to affirm this is a therapy for smokers to quit,” WHO anti-tobacco official Douglas Bettcher told journalists.

“There are a number of chemical additives in the product which could be very toxic,” he warned.

The WHO “knows of absolutely no scientific evidence whatsoever that would confirm that the electronic cigarette is a safe and effective smoking cessation device,” he added.

The WHO is particularly aggrieved that some manufacturers have implied the organisation views it as a legitimate nicotine replacement therapy, like nicotine gum, lozenges and patches.

“Manufacturers of this electronic cigarette around the world have included WHO’s name or logo, for example on their website, on package inserts or on advertisements,” Bettcher said, without naming any company or manufacturer.

The WHO has sent “cease-and-desist” letters to the manufacturers demanding they immediately withdraw these claims or otherwise face legal action.

First made in China and sold mainly over the internet in countries including Brazil, Britain, Canada and Israel, electronic cigarettes have grown in popularity despite a lack of regulatory approval.

Back at the Butler’s Arms, a starter pack costs £39.99 ($88), and users can choose between No nicotine, Low, medium or high nicotine, menthol, strawberry or cherry.

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