Researchers have developed a new electronic cigarette which they claim has none of the nicotine found in many existing e-cigarettes.
It is being launched under the brand 5 Colors.
According to the manufacturers, they meet a growing demand for a socially-acceptable way to enjoy a cigarette, the Daily Express reported.
Produced in a range of colours and fruit flavours – including apple, blueberry, grape, peach and strawberry – they contain no smoke, nicotine, tobacco or tar.
With conventional smoking now banned in public spaces, the 5 Colors electronic cigarettes have the attraction of being legal for indoor use, saving users the trouble of standing in the cold and rain outside pubs, clubs, restaurants and workplaces.
“New Year is the time when a lot of smokers are looking for an alternative to traditional cigarettes. 5 Colors gives them a product that is free of smoking-related nasties,” spokesman Tim Hurst said.
The average cost of a packet of 20 traditional cigarettes is currently 7.46. A single 5 Colors electronic cigarette costs 6.99 ( 24.95 for a pack of five) and, according to the manufacturers, provides the same number of puffs – around 300 – as a traditional pack of 20 regular cigarettes.
Electronic cigarettes differ because they do not burn any organic matter. Instead, they use a battery-powered element to heat a non-toxic liquid which creates a vapour rather than a smoke – giving rise to a new trend called “vaping”.
Since there are no toxins in them, electronic cigarettes have no known health risks.
The UK Electronic Cigarette Consumer Association said e-cigarettes – which unlike electronic cigarettes such as 5 Colors do contain nicotine – have been shown to be safer than some quit-smoking drugs and there has not been a single incident of death or disease associated with their use.
“We think electronic cigarettes are a good alternative to regular cigarettes in places where people cannot smoke,” Simon Clark, of the pro-smoking lobby group Forest, said.