Advertisements for chocolate and bubble gum-flavoured e-cigarettes could encourage children to try vaping, according to new research by the University of Cambridge.
The study, carried out for the Department of Health, examined concerns that the use of e-cigarettes among children and adolescents could lead to tobacco smoking.
The study found school children shown adverts for candy-flavoured e-cigarettes expressed greater interest in buying and trying them than their peers.
It is illegal to sell e-cigarettes and e-liquids to under-18s in the UK, but their use rose from 5% in 2013 to 8% in 2014, researchers from the university's Behaviour and Health Research Unit said.
The researchers said candy and liqueur-flavoured tobacco products were heavily marketed towards young people from the 1970s to 2009 when regulations were imposed.
The researchers said that the study supported moves for greater regulation of advertising for e-cigarettes, including rules that adverts must not be likely to appeal to under-18s.
New rules have been issued by the Committee on Advertising Practice but do not include explicit prohibitions on candly-like flavours.