E-cigarette to be banned for under-18s in England

New rules will also make it illegal for adults to buy tobacco for under-18s with fines handed out to anyone caught

Under-18s are set to be banned from buying electronic cigarettes in England, the Government has announced.

Currently there is no restriction on people under the age of 18 buying e-cigarettes, and there is a fear that they are being used by teenagers - an age group with which the devices are hugely popular - before moving on to traditional cigarettes.

Many secondary schools across the UK have already banned e-cigarettes over fears they are encouraging pupils to take up smoking.

E-cigarette sales have boomed over the last year, with an estimated 1.3 million people in the UK now thought to use them.

The tobacco free devices were designed as a healthier alternative to traditional smoking, or as an aid to quitting, but experts remain deeply concerned about the long-term effects they could have on users' health, with very little research having been carried out.

E-cigarettes provide a hit of nicotine - a highly addictive drug - and some fear they reinforce the behaviour of smoking, making it harder to give up in the long term.

England's chief medical officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, said: “We do not yet know the harm that e-cigarettes can cause to adults let alone to children, but we do know they are not risk free.

“E-cigarettes can produce toxic chemicals and the amount of nicotine and other chemical constituents and contaminants, including vaporised flavourings, varies between products meaning they could be extremely damaging to young people's health.”

The law, which will be introduced this week as an amendment to the Children and Families Bill, will also ban people from knowingly buying tobacco on behalf of someone under-18.

Adults who are caught flouting the law, which ministers hope will come into force by the autumn, could be given a £50 fixed penalty notice or fined up to £2,500.

Public Health Minister and Conservative MP Jane Ellison said: “Two thirds of smokers say they smoked regularly before they were 18, showing that this is an addiction largely taken up in childhood.

“We must do all we can to help children lead a healthy life. That's why this measure is designed to help protect children from the dangers of being bought cigarettes by irresponsible adults - something that I hope concerned parents and responsible retailers will welcome.”

The latest move comes as Department of Health figures show that 41 per cent of 15-year-olds who smoke say they usually buy their cigarettes from other people, rather than a shop.

95 per cent  of 11- to 15-year-olds who smoke meanwhile say they have been able to get someone to buy cigarettes for them at least once in the past year.

Smoking is one of the biggest causes of death and illness in the UK - every year around 100,000 people die as a result of the habit.

Additional reporting from PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect