A new coffee shop in Douglas in inviting smokers in to enjoy a drink and, if they wish, a cigarette.
Not a standard cigarette - since legislation banned smoking in enclosed spaces some years ago - but an electronic cigarette which produces no smoke and can be used to help smokers kick the habit.
Craig Jay who opened the Coffee and Vape shop at Railway Terrace on Peel Road just two weeks ago said it was the first of its kind, selling the cigarettes and offering detailed advice on how to use them to give up smoking for good.
‘I was a 30-a-day smoker and used one of these to give up,’ he said.
‘I did it with hardly any will-power at all. I’d tried patches and chewing gum before but this actually worked superbly well, so I started to wholesale them.
‘The important thing to remember is there are lots of different flavours and concentrations, If it’s too strong or too mild or the wrong flavour people won’t stick to it. There’s more to it than just providing the cigarette.
‘At the moment we have a 100 per cent success rate.’
Apart from the various tobacco flavours the cigarettes can be charged with apple, blackcurrant, orange and a range of other flavoured infusions. They contain a rechargeable battery which controls a small heating element which vapourises the nicotine but without the harmful carcinogens contained in the smoke and tar of a normal cigarette.
The idea is people follow a structured programme, gradually reducing the nicotine concentration until they are no longer addicted. The nicotine content - which is the addictive element in smoking - can be reduced ultimately to zero.
‘They are huge in America. Anything that helps people give up smoking has to be a good idea,’ he said.
As an added inducement, the shop is the sole supplier of coffee from the renowned Atkinson’s of Lancaster.
‘I had to go on their training programme before they would supply the coffee to me,’ he said.
‘There’s a bit of an art to making the perfect espresso. It’s a different brand we’ve brought in to the island so more and more people are coming in for that.’
As well as the health benefits to the cigarettes, he’s keen to stress the financial ones too.
‘It’s £4.99 for the equivalent of 200 smokes using the e-cigarette,’ he said.
‘Really the product sells itself. As soon as a smoker tries it they see how well it works. Anyone who is sceptical can just try it out for nothing. They don’t even breach the no-smoking law but using it is down to the manager.’