Children are getting a taste for vaping due to flavoured electronic cigarettes, warns new research.
Among those who currently using e-cigs, 98.6 per cent of children and 95.2 per cent of young adults said that their first one was flavoured, according to a study.
If flavours were not available, 77.8 per cent of adolescents and 73.5 per cent of young adults who used e-cigarettes said they wouldn’t use them.
It is estimated that there are more than 7,500 flavours of e-cigarettes available on the market.
Many are sweet flavours and taste like fruit or dessert, according to researchers.
Though e-cigs are typically marketed as a harmless alternative to traditional cigarettes, previous research has shown they are not free from harmful chemicals.
Chemicals and carcinogens - such as acetaldehyde, formaldehyde and tobacco-specific nitrosamines which are common in cigarettes - have been found in e-cigarettes.
Doctor Melissa Harrell said: “Our study supports a growing body of evidence that suggests the use of flavours in tobacco products, such as e-cigarettes, are appealing to youth and young adults.
“What is most surprising is that before this, no one has yet asked young people, ‘if flavours were removed from these products, would you continue to use them?’”
Dr Harrell added: “Taste is an important factor.
“These flavours mask the flavour of tobacco, which can have a harsh taste.”