SMOKERS could soon be puffing once again in a Huntingdonshire pub through a new electronic device that skirts around the smoking ban. The Rivermill Tavern in Eaton Socon is believed to be the first pub in Cambridgeshire to start selling the new electronic
SMOKERS could soon be puffing once again in a Huntingdonshire pub through a new electronic device that skirts around the smoking ban.
The Rivermill Tavern in Eaton Socon is believed to be the first pub in Cambridgeshire to start selling the new electronic cigarette (E.Cig).
The device is said to smoke like a real cigarette with smokers inhaling a fine mist of nicotine every time they inhale.
The stainless steel cigarette, which comes in different colours, even produces a cloud of harmless water vapour that looks like smoke and the end lights up blue when the smoker inhales.
The makers of the cigarette, The Electronic Cigarette Company, claim the gadget offers a "new generation of healthier smoking" and can be smoked inside pubs and other public places because they do not contain tobacco.
Landlord at the Rivermill Tavern, Trevor Partt, who started selling electronic cigarettes after seeing them advertised in a trade magazine, said: "It's just like a normal cigarette but there is no harm to other people in the bar and no smoke is given out so there is no bad cigarette smell."
They have proven popular with smokers at the Rivermill Tavern - Mr Partt sold 15 electronic cigarette starter packs in just four days and has a waiting list for his second batch.
However, the packs are not cheap - they sell for £39.95 and contain the cigarette, a battery pack, charger and a selection of nicotine capsules. Nicotine refill capsules cost 45p each and are said to be the equivalent of between 10 and 15 cigarettes.
They come in high strength, medium, low and zero nicotine and for those who like their smoke fruit-flavoured, they can also be purchased in cherry or strawberry flavour.
Mr Partt, who has been landlord of the Rivermill Tavern with wife Janet for 13 years, praised the E.Cig saying it is just what pubs need to fight the smoking ban.
"As it gets colder and wetter these are going to become more popular. Hopefully these will help recreate the atmosphere in the pubs which was killed by the smoking ban. It's about bringing people back inside to be with their friends."
He added that as a smoker he had started replacing real cigarettes with electronic ones and had seen his smoking reduce by a quarter.
Another satisfied customer, Paul Jones, 50, of Eaton Socon, said the E.Cig had helped him cut down. "I bought an electronic cigarette and cartridge from the Rivermill Tavern at on Friday and I found by the end of the day, I had only smoked eight cigarettes instead of the usual 25 - I couldn't believe it."
The World Health Organisation has warned that because the product has not been subjected to rigorous scientific testing it could prove toxic.
However, Jason Cropper, managing director of The Electronic Cigarette Company, said there is nothing toxic in the electronic cigarettes apart from nicotine.
Mr Cropper, whose company started selling electronic cigarettes 14 months ago, said: "These are not offensive to other people and they make life easier for smokers. They are not a nicotine replacement therapy but instead an alternative to harmful cigarettes."
The product has been sold to 22 pubs across the UK.
But are they legally allowed in pubs? Huntingdonshire District Council said it would be a matter for the courts to decide.