Health officers have visited more than 600 shops to check if they were stocking electronic cigarettes after the government announced it was illegal for the public to possess them. A Health Department spokesman said 683 shops had been visited in the past two days and six of them were raided. Twelve different types of electronic cigarettes were seized and 246 packs confiscated. Three arrests were made - two in Sham Shui Po and one in Wan Chai. One of the shops raided was a branch of a wine chain - Cheers at Olympian City, from which a South China Morning Post reporter posing as a customer bought a set of electronic cigarettes on Wednesday. But the shopkeeper there declined to reveal how many electronic cigarettes had been seized. Another branch of the chain at Hollywood Plaza in Diamond Hill was also raided yesterday, but no electronic cigarettes were found. The chain yesterday posted an advertisement in a Chinese-language newspaper featuring a coupon with which customers could buy a set of electronic cigarettes for HK$580. The original price was HK$1,880. 'We have stopped the promotion, as the government said it was illegal. We find it very confusing. The government just outlawed the product ... and no buffer time has been given to us at all,' a shop assistant at the Hollywood Plaza branch said. He said the electronic cigarettes available at the chain were nicotine-free. The education director of the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Hong Kong, William Chui Chun-ming, warned that nicotine was the easiest substance to become addicted to. 'Excessive intake of nicotine will lead to high blood pressure and a fast heartbeat. It will also lead to bronchial spasms, which means the respiratory system will be affected. The worst scenario will be coma and death,' he said. High levels of nicotine were found in one of the electronic cigarette samples tested by the Health Department - 36mg of nicotine in one smoke cartridge, which was higher than in one pack of cigarettes. 'The most dangerous thing is that most smokers do not know about the toxic level of these cigarettes,' he said.