UK electronic cigarette (e-cig) brand Skycig has been bought by US manufacturer Lorillard.

Lorillard, which already owns the Blu e Cigs brand, is America’s third largest cigarette manufacturer.

The acquisition would “significantly further” Skycig’s ability to innovate within the UK market, and lead to greater availability, said Skycig president Tom Rolfe.

“E-cigs are increasingly popular as an alternative to tobacco cigarettes and certainly deserve the same high level of investment and resources which tobacco cigarettes receive at present. As one of the worldwide leaders in the e-cig market Lorillard is well placed to help us continue to develop and improve our product for our customers and to help make it more widely available,” he added.

The financial backing of Lorillard would also ensure that the Skycig brand was “well placed” to meet new regulatory standards which would eradicate poor quality products from the market, he added.

“We have always said that we will comply with any decision on the regulation of e-cigs and this remains the case. We hope that the MHRA will be pleased to find that we have the means to meet their every requirement and we look forward to working with it in the future,” he said.

Skycig will function independently as a separate brand under Lorillard’s ownership, with current operations continuing as normal for staff, retailers and customers.