‘Liquid Smoking’ Could Find its Way to U.K.

Oct 27, 2008 9:50am

BY PHILIP VICTOR, ABC News London Ever imagine getting your cigarette fix in a can?  Smokers in the United Kingdom looking to get around the smoking ban may find themselves with a temporary alternative until they get a chance to pop out for a smoke.  The Dutch supplier, United Drinks and Beauty Corporation, hopes to bring its fruit-flavored herbal drink “Liquid Smoking” to the U.K by December of this year.  The makers claim the product, which has been popular in the Netherlands, contains no nicotine but rather a combination of South African plant roots.  The company says that the mixture is intended to give “a slight energizing effect, followed by a euphoric sense of calming and relaxation.”  Does this description raise red flags over product safety?  “Not really if they are just herbal extracts, Amanda Sanford of the  U.K.’s Action on Smoking and Health told ABC News, adding, however, that it,  like anything, “can be dangerous is not used properly.”  Sanford says that her group has concerns about the marketing of the product.  “The way it is packaged [it resembles] a Marlboro cigarette pack,” Sanford told ABC News. The chief executive for United Drinks and Beauty Corp., Martin Hartman, said “the product we have developed has got similar properties to nicotine, so we are trying to help people out who are affected by the ban.  People might use this instead of a cigarette or tobacco to help the cravings.”  The  U.K.’s Telegraph reports that “although there will be no lower age limit to buy it, the makers believe it should not be drunk by anyone under 15.”  Could this be a potential problem with children abusing the drink?  Sanford says she believes there should be “an incumbent warning” on the product and that it “shouldn’t be targeted to children.” Hartman told Sky News that Liquid Smoking was even safe for children to drink and impossible to get addicted to.  This isn’t the first alternative product that has sought to make inroads in the U.K.  Earlier this year, electronic cigarettes were introduced and put on sale in select pubs and by online retailers.  The electronic cigarettes were also marketed to those smokers who hoped to find a way around the U.K.’s smoking ban, which was enacted more than a year ago, in enclosed public places.    "It’s for smokers on trains, public places, planes — anywhere where smoking is prohibited and people want to fulfill the need of nicotine," said Hartman of the product. Sanford says that the liquid cigarette “seems to be in a similar mould” to electronic cigarettes.  She indicates, however, that the products are not being manufactured in order to curb traditional smoking, but rather the companies are trying to “cash in on people’s nicotine cravings.”  While the U.K. smoking ban has created a market for alternative cigarette products, it remains to be seen whether they will catch on or the traditional cigarette will still remain the primary choice.  Read more blogs from Philip Victor Read more blogs from the ABC News Staff    

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