Electronic cigarette brand E-Lites claims to have become the first smoking-related product to sponsor motorsports since tobacco tie-ups were banned.

The brand has announced it will sponsor the MCE British Superbike Championship for the 2013 season - the first time motorsports had been sponsored by a smoking product since such activity was axed in 2005, it said.

E-Lites will have a dedicated section on the British Superbike championship website, and trackside and event branding that it said would be “reminiscent of the iconic branding which was famously associated with motorsport throughout the 1980s”. The brand has also agreed personal sponsorships with British Superbike rider Pete Hickman and Pirelli Superstock 600 rider Tim Hastings.

“Partnering with a sport that was once synonymous with tobacco sponsorship is our way of raising awareness that smoking has been reinvented,” said E-Lites CEO Adrian Everett. “With the announcement of this sponsorship we are demonstrating our commitment to continuing to lead the way for the e-cig category.”

E-Lites has also announced its partnership with Matt Bell Racing for the inaugural British Racing Drivers’ Club Formula 4 Championship, which will see the team re-named Matt Bell Racing (Team E-Lites) and its single-seater race car carry E-Lites branding.

In January, E-Lites became the first company in the UK to run a national TV advertising campaign for e-cigarettes containing nicotine.