Yes, it's better than smoking, but that doesn't make your e-cigarette healthy
Smoking in public places is back - but not as we know it. An estimated 1.3 million people across Britain have now switched to electronic cigarettes, joined by, among others, the supermodel Kate Moss.
The electronic look-alikes, which are shaped and weighted to feel like the real thing, contain a battery and a heating device - this vaporizes a nicotine solution contained in a disposable cartridge, giving the 'smoker’ a nicotine hit without the harmful tar and carbon monoxide produced when tobacco is burned.
Using an e-cigarette is now known as 'vaping’, referring to the vapour produced.
Because they contain no tobacco, e-cigarettes are not covered by laws banning smoking in a public space, so in theory you can smoke them anywhere - in a car, the pub, and even when you are waiting to pick up your children from the school playground. There is also no age restriction.
Sales of the e-cigarette - invented in 2003 by a Chinese chemist - have rocketed since its introduction to UK shops in 2007. The UK is one of the fast-growing markets for the device - but restaurateurs, train companies and doctors are now calling for their restriction.