Monday, July 14, 2008

alternative cigarettes

An alternative method of puffing away at the pub has drifted into the national consciousness and is causing quite a stir in the industry.
So-called electronic or alternative cigarettes give users the sensation of smoking, even producing a vapour that can be inhaled and exhaled while delivering the nicotine hit, but are legal as no harmful smoke is emitted.
One brand on the market is called the SuperSmoker.
Its Ultimo model, which retails at around £78, allows smokers to dodge the smoking ban, which has now been in place for a year.
Inventors say the system helps people lead a healthier lifestyle and is much cheaper, claiming it can knock 65 per cent off of normal smoking costs.
It is legal to use inside pubs and clubs as it causes no harm to those sharing their air.
Cartridges are placed into a pre-charged atomizer and users suck on it like a normal cigarette.
The firm say it looks, tastes and smokes like a conventional cigarette but has no detrimental health effects on others and say it doesn’t cause cancer.
We asked 58-year-old smoker Graham Bates from Herne Bay to trial the SuperSmoker Ultimo on a trip to his local.
He said: “I felt a little strange using it. It does have a certain sensation of smoking but you have to suck pretty hard to get much out and it leaves a sugary taste on the lips.
“I used it in the pub and the barman did initially ask me to stop but I showed him the product and he was fine with it. He said he had seen them before and had no issues with people using them.”
Mark Bradley, assistant manager of the Prince of Wales pub in Railway Street, Chatham, said: “I’ve actually got one of the electronic cigarettes.
“I went to the London Bar Show last week and they were giving them out. I think they’re brilliant and bought some for my staff.”
Sam Griggs, trainee assistant manager of the Druid’s Arms in Earl Street, Maidstone, said: “I think they’re a good idea.
“I’ve not seen anyone using them in the pub. We’ve only got a little garden and it normally gets packed with smokers so products like this may become quite popular.
“It might cause a bit of conflict, though, as other customers may think they’re real cigarettes.”
Graham Moore, landlord of the Dukes Head in Sellindge, said: “I wouldn’t have any objections to them being used here. If they are legal to use indoors and don’t disturb anyone else then that’s fine.”
Ian Gray, from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, has looked into the sensation.
He said: “We have been the advisors to all the regulatory authorities on this matter and are hearing about it more and more.
“Our main concern was that officers wouldn’t be able to tell the difference but it’s clear if you are close to them they’re not normal cigarettes.”
He added: “They are perfectly legal to use because, in our view, this isn’t smoking. If people are using them it’s very unlikely that a local authority would want to make a prosecution as the legislation is to protect people from second-hand smoke but if there is none of that then there’s not really a basis for a prosecution.”
Mr Gray says the craze is catching on: “They seem to be using them a lot in the North. I suppose if you don’t want to go outside, it’s a real alternative.
“They seem to be particularly popular in bingo halls where older people who may not want to get up and go outside and all that goes with that such as collecting your coat.”