BAT has become the UK’s first electronic cigarette (e-cig) manufacturer to have its device licensed as a medicine.

The UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has approved BAT’s e-Voke brand for marketing as a stop smoking aid - a move which could eventually see it prescribed on the NHS.

“We want to ensure licensed nicotine-containing products – including e-cigarettes – which make medicinal claims are available and meet appropriate standards of safety, quality and efficacy to help reduce the harms from smoking,” the MHRA said in a statement.

There are currently no other licensed e-cigs on the UK market.

From May 2016 any e-cigs not licensed by the MHRA will be governed by the revised European Union Tobacco Products Directive.

The regulations will introduce a cap of 20mg/ml on nicotine concentrations. E-cigs will also have to comply with new safety standards to ensure that they are child and tamper proof.

Only ingredients of high purity will be allowed in the e-liquid and e-cigs will be required to deliver consistent doses of nicotine levels.

E-cigs must also conform to strict advertising rules.