Two-thirds of Britons would support a change to the law which would make it illegal to sell e-cigarettes to those aged under 18, according to an ITV News poll carried out by ComRes.
It is currently legal to sell e-cigarettes - which contain nicotine - to under 18s although there is a voluntary code in place by the retail industry for them not to do so.
ComRes asked 2,055 people whether they would "support or oppose a change in the law to make it illegal to sell e-cigarettes, which contain nicotine, to under 18-year-olds." The results were:
- 66% support a change in the law to make it illegal to sell e-cigarettes to under 18s.
- 16% said they opposed the change, which would leave the voluntary code in place.
- 17% said they did not know.
Levels of support for a change in the law was similar between parents with children under the age of 18 (68%) and those without children of that age (66%), the poll found.
The sale of electronic cigarettes to under 18s is to be banned as part of a clampdown on teenage smoking. An estimated 1.3 million people use them - most as an aid to quit smoking.
But some experts say a ban could actually encourage more youngsters to take up the habit.
ITV News reporter Sejal Karia reports:
Regardless of whether it's e-cigarettes or real ones, it is the act of smoking that is being promoted to adults and children alike.Read the full story ›
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.
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 Government is to introduce new legislation to ban under-18s from buying electronic cigarettes.
The Coalition also plans to make it illegal for adults to purchase cigarettes for anyone under 18, under tough new laws aimed at cracking down on teenage smoking.The announcement comes as e-cigarettes are enjoying a boom in sales, with an estimated 1.3 million people in the UK thought to use them.
The law, which will be introduced this week as an amendment to the Children and Families Bill, will also ban 'proxy purchasing' - knowingly buying tobacco on behalf of someone under 18.
Adults caught breaking 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.
Britons are more likely to disagree than agree that using E-cigarettes should be allowed in public places, an exclusive poll for the Tonight programme, conducted by ComRes, has revealed.
Participants were asked if they agree or disagree with the following statements:
The World Health Organisation has called for further research into the impact of E-cigarettes on human health as they increase in popularity.
British Armerican Tobacco spokesman Kingsley Wheaton told ITV's Tonight that his firm believes electronic cigarettes are "substantially safer" than conventional cigarettes.
"We believe that as they are they are today - and we believe there are various parts of the scientific community who would agree with us - they provide a substantially safer alternative to smoking a traditional cigarette," he said in a conversation with ITV News Consumer Editor Chris Choi.