Updated Fri. Apr. 21 2006 11:29 PM ET

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The 'VitaCig' was invented by non-smoker Roger Ouellette for his wife.

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Canadian creates cigarette with vitamin C

CTV.ca News Staff

A Quebec company is producing a cigarette it claims does not stain teeth, has less of an odour than regular brands and contains beneficial ingredients like vitamin C.

Called the "VitaCig," it was invented by non-smoker Roger Ouellette for his wife, who has smoked a pack of cigarettes every day since the age of 14.

"We give you all the vitamins you lose, plus some vitamins to help you," he told CTV News.

Health Canada is skeptical of the claim, saying any cigarette is harmful.

"I say this half-jokingly: a safe cigarette is one that's not lit," Health Canada spokesperson Mathew Cook said.

Cook added that Health Canada has heard of similar products before, but that this particular brand only recently appeared on the Canadian market.

Because such products still contain tobacco, Health Canada said it falls under the Tobacco Act and should be regulated the same way as any other cigarette.

Although Health Canada has not tested the VitaCig, Cook said that such products are no less harmful than any regular brand.

"We do tests right now, analysis on the tobacco products, on cigarettes, and what we do is measure the toxic emissions," he said.

"We have no evidence that these products are any different at this point."

He also warned against any claims stating the VitaCig brand is healthy, saying "there's a law against making misleading claims about a product."

Quebecers will be able to try the new cigarettes for themselves at one of 2,000 stores across the province, and it could soon reach more locations outside the province.

Smoker Heidi Miller tried the VitaCig and said it does have less of an odour than her regular brand, although she was highly skeptical of the added ingredients.

"I don't think any cigarette can be healthy for you, and I'm a smoker," she said. "No, I wouldn't smoke for health reasons."

Meanwhile, Ouellette's wife is pleased with her husband's product.

"I am happy, because I don't have to quit any more," Gisele Tremblay said.

With a report by CTV's Genevieve Beauchemin in Montreal

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