NI charity: Ban e-cig sales to under-18s
A medical charity is calling for the Northern Ireland health minister to outlaw the sale of electronic cigarettes to people under 18 years.
Andrew Dougal, of NI Chest Heart and Stroke, said e-cigs contained nicotine "which is a most powerful drug, more addictive than heroin".
He said only adult smokers who have tried all other supports should begin to think about the use of e-cigs.
A ban is to be imposed on the sale of e-cigs to under-18s in England.
Mr Dougal said: "The NI Chest Heart and Stroke is convinced that only adult smokers who have tried all other supports, e.g. nicotine replacement therapy, should begin to think about the use of e-cigs.
"Their use should be only in the short term with a goal of being nicotine-free and smoke-free at the earliest stage.
"The public health minister in England has today announced that the government will amend the Children and Families Bill now being debated at Westminster," he said.
"In the interests of the efficient and effective management of legislation, the Northern Ireland Executive and Northern Ireland Assembly might chose to utilise this bill to enforce these safeguards in Northern Ireland at a much earlier time."