A GOVERNMENT ban on under-18s buying electronic cigarettes has been welcomed by a fledgling Furness business.

Shirley Taylor, manager of The Vapour Bar in King Street, Ulverston, said: “It is something we have been enforcing since we opened the shop. We have always had a sign on the door advising we do not sell to under-18s so I am not worried that it will affect our business at all.”

While smoking rates have fallen dramatically over the years, experts fear the electronic substitutes could be encouraging teenagers to take up the habit.

“I have a daughter myself and I would not want her buying electronic cigarettes in the same way that I would not want her to buy normal cigarettes,” said Mrs Taylor.

“It makes sense to impose this ban as it has been enforced on normal cigarettes for a long time now.”

Smoking remains one of the biggest causes of death and illness in the UK, with around 100,000 people dying each year from illnesses linked to the habit.

Electronic cigarettes, which work by electronically vaporising ‘e-liquid’ – are an alternative way of getting nicotine without tar or carbon monoxide and the vapour is considered potentially less harmful than cigarette smoke.

However, the jury is still out about just how safe e-cigarettes are, and nobody is certain about what the long-term impact is on health.

“We do not market the e-cigarettes as a kind of replacement therapy for people to give up smoking. What I use them for and what my customers use them for is as an alternative to smoking.

“If I didn’t use the electronic cigarettes I would probably still be smoking nicotine packed cigarettes which is of course more dangerous.

“We can’t say that it is a ‘safer way to give up smoking’ - we say it is a consumer’s choice to use e-cigarettes as an alternative method,” Ms Taylor added.