BAT has become the first UK tobacco manufacturer to launch its own electronic cigarette (e-cig) product onto the market, in a move which has been welcomed by convenience store retailers.

Vype contains a pharmaceutical grade nicotine liquid that is made in the UK to current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) standards.

It will initially be available in a disposable format with an rrp of £6.99, and BAT plans to introduce a rechargeable version “in the near future.”

Vype is expected to receive strong marketing support which will position it as the “best alternative to conventional smoking”.

The development was a “natural extension” of BAT’s approach to tobacco harm reduction which has been evolving over a number of years, board director Kingsley Wheaton said.

“We feel that, as a tobacco company, we understand what smokers really want from the experience of an e-cig,” Wheaton added. “ E-cigs are an important part of the UK government’s approach to tobacco harm reduction and we believe that it is our role to provide smokers with products which they will find acceptable and want to use.”

Independent retailer Matt Gibbons of Gluggles in York said he had already ordered one to try it out personally, and to compare with the other brands he currently sells.

“BAT’s big advantage is that it already has well-established distribution channels for tobacco products and so should be able to get this product on to the shelves very quickly,” he said.

“I will definitely sell them for the reason that it will be supported by a big marketing and advertising promotion from BAT, which will drive sales.”

The launch of Vype follows BAT’s acquisition of CN Creative in December.