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By Louise Psyllides, Business Reporter for The Sentinel, Staffordshire Monday, September 13, 2010

A South Cheshire firm has landed a contract from supermarket giant Tesco after coming up with a cigarette replacement designed to make the habit more socially acceptable.

Sandbach-based 10 Motives is supplying 30 Cheshire and Staffordshire stores with its disposable electronic cigarettes. The disposable 'e-cigarettes', which cost £5.99 each in-store, last as long as 30 normal cigarettes and contain none of the harmful products usually associated with tobacco – just nicotine, the substance associated with addiction in smokers. 10 Motives directors Tony Jones and Art Devlin believe they have come up with a unique product.

Mr Jones said: "The rechargeable versions have been around for a few years so we thought there must be a market for a disposable variation. It's taken us 12 to 18 months to develop it and get the manufacturer right. It's our belief that smokers are addicted to two things – the nicotine and the physical habit of smoking."

"Nicotine is harmless but it's very addictive, so our cigarette has everything else taken out and just delivers the nicotine. It hits the back of your throat then you exhale an odourless vapour – it's the closest thing you're going to get to smoking."

Because the vapour is harmless and odourless, they are legal to smoke anywhere.

Mr Devlin said: "We are not marketing it as a cessation product. It's more about making smoking more socially acceptable. Smokers are often under pressure from themselves or their friends and family to give up, but if you take away the negative effects of smoking I don't think anyone would actually want to quit."

The cigarettes, which are manufactured in China, were launched six months ago in a number of vending machines in Pubs round the region.

The 10 Motives cigarettes will be available in 30 regional Tesco stores as of today, and the company has signed up former Liverpool and England footballer Neil 'Razor' Ruddock, pictured right, to be the face of the brand. Ruddock will be visiting branches in Kidsgrove and Crewe later this month for the official launch. Mr Jones said: "We chose Neil because he's a typical bloke, and he's a long-term smoker who's trying to get a bit healthier."

"We're very excited that Tesco have seen the possibilities and we're raring to go. If it goes well Tesco have said they will be more than happy to help us roll it out nationally across their whole estate, which is 2,200 stores. We're very fortunate to have been given such an opportunity."

10 Motives currently employs three people at its Edwin Foden Business Centre, based on Moss Lane, and Mr Jones said he hopes the Tesco contract will lead to more recruitment.

He said: "We need to start expanding fairly rapidly. "If it does go well with Tesco, hopefully other supermarkets will follow suit. Our ambition is to have the cigarettes stocked in every supermarket, corner shop and garage."

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