A MAGICIAN stunned Kidderminster shoppers who saw cigarettes disappear in his hand.

The stunt was part of an open day being held at new Comberton Hill-based venture Free2vape, which specialises in selling e-cigarettes.

The store has opened at a time when the devices are coming under the spotlight after a decision in the European Parliament meant their availability would be restricted in the future after MEPs voted to introduce new regulations which would control what kind of e-cigarettes could be sold in member states.

Owner Nigel Jones said: “It was a really good day. We had a great magician – John Milner – who was standing outside the shop making cigarettes disappear and e-cigarettes appear.

“The shop itself has been very busy – the staff are properly trained to help people stop smoking. We have actually had a lot of parents come in, bringing their 19 or 20-year-old children in, who have started smoking, and encouraging them to buy e-cigarettes instead.

“We have got two employed here full-time and are looking to take one more on and we could open another premises in Stourport. We are not too far away from these shops being in every town.”

Regarding the political uncertainty, Mr Jones said: “I do not think [the government] will ban them because they do not need to do any more tests on old cigarettes to know that they kill people. We are going to build up a special customer base over the next couple of years so when the big supermarkets start selling them we will have a lot of people who already use us.”

Many smokers say “vaping” has been the key to them giving up, as it replicates smoking much better than nicotine patches, gums and sprays, but some opponents say not enough tests have been done on them yet and there might still be long-term health problems from using them