Lucie, 28, used to smoke about 20 cigarettes a week — more of a casual habit than an addiction. Now she has not touched a cigarette for two years, but each week inhales the equivalent of 80. She is, she tells me, a complete and utter Elf Bar addict.
For the uninitiated, Elf Bars are disposable electronic cigarettes, or vapes, which last 600 puffs, are about the size of a highlighter pen (in the same migraine-inducing colours) and come in sickly flavours such as pink lemonade and lychee ice. They contain nicotine-infused water heated on each puff by an electrical coil to produce a vapour. That water contains the highest legal level of nicotine, 20mg per millilitre, making each bar equivalent to about 40 cigarettes.