First airport e-cigarette zone to open at London's Heathrow

A passenger travels on a scooter with his luggage at Heathrow airport in London March 16, 2012. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

LONDON (Reuters) - Electronic cigarette maker Gamucci is to open the world's first airport "vaping zone" for e-cigarette users at London's Heathrow later this month, highlighting the rise of the smoke-free devices.

The new indoor zone, measuring 30 square metres, will open on November 25 in the international departure lounge at Terminal 4, with entry restricted to those aged 18 and over, Gamucci said in a statement on Sunday.

Sales of e-cigarettes have boomed in recent years, prompted in part by restrictions on smoking. The battery-driven devices allow users to inhale nicotine-laced vapour and are seen as a less harmful alternative to smoking.

Governments are currently struggling to work out the best way to regulate them. Britain decided in June to regulate them as medicines from 2016 but European parliamentarians last month rejected the idea of doing the same across the European Union.

(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; editing by Jason Neely)