Now smokers in Britain can light up legally in pubs once again, for a Chinese group has claimed it has invented the country's first "e-cig," that mimics the traditional stick, but can be smoked in nightclubs despite the ban.
Celebrity hangout Chinawhite in Soho is trying out Britain's first "e-cig," a six inch white plastic stick that creates battery powered smoke puffs while it also glows red with every puff.
AdvertisementIn addition, the smoker can even get a nicotine kick by purchasing a nicotine cartridge, which provides the equivalent nicotine of 30 cigarettes.
A 50 pound starter pack includes the cigarette, a filter and a battery recharger.
Manufacturer the Golden Dragon Group says the invention has no harmful side-effects because there is no smoke or tar.
"Clubs should move with the times and offer members the choice to smoke outside or enjoy a smoke-free cigarette indoors. We're trialling these e-cigs to see if our members like them and the few that have tried them say they are amazing," the Daily Mail quoted John Stephen, co-founder of Chinawhite, as saying.
"In my opinion, our members who do wish to smoke should be given options that don't simply force them to light up on the street," he added.
However, the novel invention was no well received by some. Phuong Nguyen, 25, a bar worker from Bethnal Green, thinks that the 50-pound price tag could put some people off.
"You can feel the nicotine and it gives you a good taste. In a club I'm sure it would be very successful. But 50 pounds is a lot of money to pay for a gadget. I wouldn't pay that much," she said.
Francisca Chinchilla, 35, bar manager at Beach Blanket Babylon in Notting Hill, said that she would be hesitant about allowing her customers to smoke the electronic cigarette indoors.
"Although it clearly doesn't pollute like a cigarette, I think this would cause problems by blurring the boundaries and creating confusion," Chinchilla said.
"Because it looks quite real, other customers might see it as an open invitation to light up real cigarettes inside. Anyway, I think my customers are perfectly happy going outside to smoke. It's good for us because it creates a nice atmosphere outside the bar and it draws more people in," she added.