Cigarette giant British American Tobacco is launching a new product - which will help people quit smoking.

The company confirmed its entry into the booming electronic cigarette market in the UK, the Independent revealed.

This means it could potentially receive public money once e-cigarettes are officially licensed by the government from 2016.

Amanda Sandford, of campaign group Action on Smoking and Health, told The Huffington Post UK: "It's a potential conflict of interest for them - at the moment they are making millions of pounds from products which are not only addictive but also deadly, whereas e-cigarettes contain nicotine, but as far as we know so far, are considerably safer than conventional cigarettes."

She said it was too early to say whether the company would benefit from any licensing arrangement.

BAT confirmed its new e-cigarettes, known as Vype, will be available online from Tuesday and in shops from September.

The government has decided to regulate e-cigarettes and treat them as medicines, which means they could be prescribed by doctors to help people quit smoking.

A BAT spokesman told The Huffington Post UK: “The e-cigarette is currently available in a disposable format, with plans to supplement the product range with a rechargeable version.

“The development of inhaled nicotine products, which includes ecigarettes, is a natural extension of British American Tobacco’s approach to tobacco harm reduction which has been evolving over a number of years.”