A nicotine inhaler which resembles a cigarette has been licensed as a medicine in the UK.
‘Voke’, which was created by British American Tobacco, can now be provided on prescription to help people stop smoking.
Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) believe this could “pave the way” for electronic cigarettes to be licensed as well.
Although no electronic cigarettes have been licensed as a medicine, medical experts agree that they are less harmful than tobacco.
The new product does not produce ash or smoke and does not require a battery, only needing the user to inhale.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of health charity ASH said: “This new alternative to smoking will allow smokers to choose a product which meets the high standards of medicines regulation and could be provided on prescription to help them stop smoking.
A spokesperson from the European Public Health Association told the BBC: “"While supporting the need for all nicotine delivery devices to be regulated as medicines, given concerns about quality and the safety of long term use, EUPHA is concerned that the recent publicity given to these devices may divert attention from much more effective measures to reduce smoking such as standardised packaging and price rises."
A spokesman from the MHRA said it encouraged companies to submit medicines licence applications for electronic cigarettes and other nicotine-containing products.