A cigarette-shaped nicotine inhaler has become the first of its kind to be licensed for use in the UK.

Voke is manufactured by Nicoventures, a wholly-owned subsidiary of British American Tobacco (BAT), the world’s second largest cigarette manufacturer, in association with its development partner Kind Consumer. It is aimed at “smokers who want to reduce, replace or stop smoking”, providing a novel alternative to e-cigarettes.

The product has been granted an initial medicines licence by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). It is the first “alternative to smoking” to be approved by the agency, which up until now has only licensed products intended to be used as nicotine replacement therapy.

The Voke inhaler has a small aerosol can containing a pressurised nicotine solution and a stick device that needs to be filled from the can. Once filled, the stick device is breath-operated and the nicotine is inhaled, delivering much of the experience smokers expect from a cigarette, including a “throat catch”, but “without the serious health risk of smoking”.