Pour yourself a cigarette: The new 'Liquid Smoking' drink that promises an instant high for smokers trying to beat the ban
It's the sort of news that will make a smoker's eyes light up.
A company has created a fruit-flavoured herbal drink that claims to deliver the same fix as cigarettes.
Called Liquid Smoking, it promises an instant high followed by a 'euphoric calming feeling'.
It is targeted at those who can no longer light up inside public premises under the smoking ban but want to feed their cravings.
Anti-smoking groups fear it could promote addiction at a time when the Government is trying to discourage smoking.
The Dutch supplier, United Drinks and Beauty Corporation, hopes the drink will go on sale here in the week before Christmas.
It says it does not contain the highly addictive drug nicotine, but a potent mix of roots from South African plants, which has been used since the 14th century by bushmen.
The bushmen would chew the concoction of leaves to achieve a high, but the producers of Liquid Smoking distilled the mix into an oil for their drink.
United Drinks and Beauty Corporation hopes to follow Red Bull and have the product sold in pubs and bars as a mixer with spirits such as vodka.
It has less than 21 calories per 275ml can and would cost £1.50 in shops and £2 in bars and pubs.
There will be no lower age limit to buy it, although the makers said they did not think it should be drunk by anyone under 15.
Chief executive of United Drinks and Beauty Corporation Martin Hartman said there was no research proving the drink was harmful in any way.
He said the company is waiting for clearance from health authorities in Holland to be able to sell the product there.
He 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 on nicotine. People might use this instead of a cigarette or tobacco to help the cravings.
'It is a relaxing drink, it gives a similar affect to smoking - initially you get a little boost which makes you more alert, then a euphoric, calming feeling.
'It will take the edge off of a need for nicotine for between one to four hours.
'I think it will help people who feel the need for nicotine in bars, restaurants, long-haul flights and on the train.'
But anti-smoking groups are not impressed. Amanda Sanford, from Action on Smoking and Health, said: 'We are concerned that we have started to see a number of these novel products on the market which are supposed to be alternatives to smoking.
'Although we welcome anything which is a genuine alternative, many of these are totally unregulated and we only have the manufacturer's word about what they contain.
'We would be concerned about any health claims that are unsubstantiated, and at this stage we wouldn't encourage people to buy them.'
The group also criticised the packaging, which is designed to look like a pack of cigarettes, saying it could further encourage smoking.
Concern has been growing about the effects of high caffeine drinks, such as Red Bull, on young people.
Drunk in excess, caffeine can lead to insomnia, anxiety and hyperactivity.
Mr Hartman stressed that Liquid Smoking has a relaxing rather than stimulating effect.
By Lucy Ballinger
Daily Mail Online
Last updated at 2:45 AM on 27th October 2008