The Brumby Labor Government in Australia has banned a battery-powered device, which is said to be a "healthy alternative to smoking".
The device, which resembles a traditional cigarette, does not contain tobacco but delivers nicotine through an atomiser that creates puffs of vapour similar to cigarette smoke.
AdvertisementHealth Minister Daniel Andrews said that it would be illegal to sell the nicotine cartridges necessary to use the device.
The device, which had been advertised as a way to beat the smoking ban in pubs, offices and on public transport, caused outrage among the health organisations.
Andrews said that the pharmacology of nicotine had been well studied.
"It is addictive and produces a characteristic abstinence withdrawal syndrome," the Age quoted him as saying in a statement.
"It is rapidly absorbed through the skin, by inhalation and ingestion with high acute toxicity.
"Long-term exposure is associated with cardiovascular disease caused by the effects of nicotine on heart rate, blood pressure and cardiac contraction," he added.
The ban follows the release of the Brumby Government's Tobacco Control Strategy 2008-2013, aimed at reducing smoking rates by 20 per cent.
The new regulation, which comes into effect tomorrow, outlaws the manufacture, sale, supply, purchase, possession or use of unregulated nicotine delivery systems.