Japanese scientists have discovered a gene which may result in the creation of cigarettes without nicotine.
After three years of research, Professor Kazufumi Yazaki, a plant molecular biologist at Kyoto University's Research Institute for Sustainable Humanosphere, has now identified the Nt-JAT1 gene as the transporter for nicotine.
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, he claimed that his next aim is to create cigarette that tastes of tobacco but does not have any ill effect on human health.
"We will proceed now with experiments to raise tobacco plants that have no nicotine in their leaves, although there may still be some problems to overcome," The Telegraph quoted him as telling the Dailyh Telegraph saying.
He added: "For example, we may find that blocking the transfer leads to accumulation of the nicotine in the root cells and that could prove toxic to the plant itself," said Professor Yazaki.
Yazaki, who's a non-smoker himself, said that his breakthrough will particularly help people who are already trying to quit, but to no avail.
"It has been pointed out that people smoke for the nicotine, but there are a lot of people who want to quit and have tried to stop, but say they miss the sensation of having a cigarette in their mouth. There are people who will smoke regardless of whether the cigarette contains nicotine or not," he said.