Ploom - a new smoking device described by one retailer as a cross between an e-cigarette and a Nespresso machine - has been rolled out to the UK by Japan tobacco International.

Soft launched in London last month, the device uses real tobacco rather than the nicotine liquid used by e-cigarettes, and is currently stocked in about 200 stores in the capital.

It consists of a vapouriser that retails at around £20 and small aluminium capsules known as Vapods (£8). The Vapods are filled with compressed tobacco, which is heated rather than burnt to create a vapour instead of smoke. They are available in a variety of brands including popular UK brands such as Benson & Hedges, Camel and Silk Cut, as well as lesser-known ones such as Emerald, Lugano and Dragon.

“The UK market is evolving and we believe there is a real demand for alternatives to traditional tobacco products,” said JTI UK head of communications Jeremy Blackburn.

“We have been very pleased with the launches in Austria, Italy, Japan, South Korea and France, where the product has been well-received by consumers.”

He added that Ploom was set to launch in more countries later this year.

The news of Ploom’s arrival in the UK comes a week after JTI agreed to acquire UK-based e-cigarette maker Zandera for an undisclosed sum.

It is expected to complete the deal for the maker of E-Lites in the second quarter of the fiscal year following clearance from the relevant regulators.