A scientist in Japan has made a breakthrough that could pave the wave for nicotine-free cigarettes.
Over the last three years, Professor Kazufumi Yazaki, a plant molecular biologist at Kyoto
University's Research Institute for Sustainable Humanosphere, has been studying the gene which transprots nicotine around the body.
He said is next aim is to create a cigarette which does not have a harmful effect on the human body.
Professor Yazaki told the Daily Telegraph: "We will proceed now with experiments to raise tobacco plants that have no nicotine in their leaves, although there may still be some problems to overcome."
He added that one of the biggest obstacles to his research is funding.
A recent study by Japan Tobacco, the world's third largest tobacco manufacturer, found that nearly 40 per cent of men spoke in the country, compared to just under 13 per cent of women.
Japan is something of a paradise for smokers with a high percentage of people smoking. However, recently the government has been cracking down and now many of the public areas in the centre of cities are smoke free zones. Restaurants usually have non smoking areas and most hotels have some non smoking rooms. Most interesting of all, look out for the 'Japlish' slogans on cigarette vending machines featuring such gems as "Malboro - for your happy healthy life!"