14/08/2014 17:01 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 10:12 BST

Are Chocolate And Candy Floss Flavoured E-Cigarettes Targeting Children?


Schoolchildren are being targeted with E-cigarettes flavoured with strawberry, chocolate, candy floss and vanilla fudge, it has been claimed.

Critics have compared the increasing appeal of the nicotine delivery devices to the surge in sales of alcopops - the sweet alcoholic drinks which became popular with young people.

One teenager, Ella Williams, 18, from Dorchester, Dorset, described their appeal, saying: "It's a social thing. Everyone was talking about E-cigarettes so I tried one of my brother's.

"It was strawberry flavour which I liked. I've also tried the menthol one."

She added: "E-cigs are cool because you can smoke them indoors and there is no smell to them, so it's good to do with your friends on a night out."

E-cigarettes do not contain tobacco, so are not covered by legislation which has banned smoking in enclosed places across the UK. Instead an electronic inhaler vaporises liquid nicotine.

They are currently legally sold to under 18s, and are often cheaper than traditional cigarettes.

Although they do not contain the harmful tar found in normal cigarettes, experts fear they could encourage young people to swap to tobacco.

And many schools have already banned them.

One of them, Highfield Humanities College in Blackpool, does not allow them on the premises.

Deputy head Sara Dewhurst explained: "The reason for the ban is over concerns that pupils could be encouraged to start smoking."

Dr Ram Moorthy, a spokesman for the British Medical Association, said: "Ultimately these devices do contain nicotine and young people smoking them are developing a habit which they could potentially be stuck with for life.

"It is also concerning that these devices so closely mimic cigarettes, which is normalising smoking just when the smoking ban has done so much to make it socially unacceptable.

"There have been very worrying reports that teenagers have been asking for e-cigarettes for Christmas presents and that they have become commonplace in the playground."

He added: "We want to see legislation banning e-cigarette sales to under-18s brought in as soon as possible." possible, and see it strongly enforced."