London, September 25 : A pub in England is offering "electronic cigarettes" to its customers to cope with the impact of smoking ban on its business.
Chris Giles of the Butler's Arms in Sutton Coldfield, near Birmingham, believes that electronic cigarettes can offer a very good solution to the ban, which has led to a decline in custom in pubs around the country since it came into force in July last year.
The new E.cig smokes like a real cigarette, and users get a shot of nicotine every time they inhale. It even produces a cloud of water vapour with every puff, without causing any harm to the smoker.
The fake cigarettes started selling at the Butler's Arms at the weekend, after the pub bosses saw them in a trade magazine.
"When it's freezing outside and chucking it down with rain it's a good alternative to going outside for a cigarette. We built a smoking shelter, but it's just not the same for smokers who have been marginalised by the ban," the Telegraph quoted Giles as saying.
"While we are completely supportive of the smoking ban we are still very conscious of the needs of our smoking customers. We are in autumn now and winter is not very far away, so these e-cigs have come at the right time," he added.
Giles' daughter Becky, who is the Assistant Manager at the pub, said: "It's been really successful already, we have had lots of people ringing up and asking about it. We've sold about 6 packs and it only went on sale at the weekend.
She added: "I smoke myself and I've started using the electronic cigarettes on a night out. I'm not going to use them all the time, because I like being able to nip out for a break! They are not only healthier than normal cigarettes but really good value for money. They are really just like having a normal fag. Luckily we can tell people aren't really trying to light up because they electronic ones are black in colour with a blue light."
The device uses a small replaceable cartridge filled with a dose of nicotine. Its users can choose between No nicotine, Low, medium or high nicotine, menthol, strawberry or cherry.
The Electronic Cigarette Company, which has invented the product, says that the vapour produced by it is odourless and contains no tar or carbon monoxide, and thus there is no risk of passive smoking.
The company, however, admits that the E.cigs are just as addictive as the real ones.