The device is the E Cigarette or electronic cigarette. A cartridge in the electronic cigarette contains e-juice, with small amounts of nicotine contained in a propylene glycerol solution. When the user inhales a sensor activates a heating element which vaporises the nicotine.
Crucially, there is no tobacco, tar or carcinogens in the e-cigarette. The only ingredient left from the original cigarette, or analogs as the rapidly growing e-cigarette crowd call them, is nicotine. Nicotine causes both the addiction and the pleasure of cigarettes, and while it is as addictive as heroin many experts believe it is no more dangerous than a cup of coffee.
Experts in Tobacco Harm Reduction have welcomed the product, stating that while more research is required it is clearly a far preferable alternative to smoking.
Dr Murray Lauderson of Health New Zealand, analysed the e-cigarette and stated:
It is very safe relative to cigarettes, and also safe in absolute terms on all measurements we have applied.
Meanwhile, David Sweanor, who has advised the WHO on tobacco control, argued:
"If there is anyone who believes cigarettes are no more hazardous than e-cigarettes I'd recommend a remedial course in basic sciences."
Unfortunately many governments don't agree, and the product has now been banned in a number of countries. Fortunately, it is alive and well here in China, and is a must try while you are here!