A tobacco gel that is rubbed into smokers' palms has been launched in Britain ahead of the English ban.
The controversial gel, produced by Advanced Formulations, aims to give smokers a nicotine fix for up to four hours.
The product is for sale over the counter at pharmacies and stores, including Harrods and Selfridges, and costs £5.98 per 15ml bottle and £9.98 for a 50ml bottle.
Its producers claim that the tobacco gel contains less than one-10th of the amount of tobacco found in cigarettes and one billion less carcinogenic chemicals.
"As smoking becomes more difficult in bars, restaurants, offices and on flights, Nicofix is a convenient way to satisfy cravings," a spokesman said.
But health lobbyists condemned the launch.
"As the manufacturer itself stresses, this still contains tobacco, so is harmful - albeit probably less so than smoking cigarettes," said British Heart Foundation public affairs manager Ruairi O'Connor.
"It will also not have been through the same rigorous tests as Nicotine Replacement Therapy which is proven to be an effective aid to quitting."
For more information visit www.nicofix.com"