Electronic cigarettes should be prohibited in public places, the BMA annual representative meeting agreed.
Doctors and medical students decided that e-cigarettes may act as ‘entry portals’ to nicotine addiction.
County Tyrone GP Theo Nugent said while electronic cigarettes were ‘not without merit’, nicotine addiction was part of a trillion-pound industry.
‘We want more urgent action to protect the young,’ he said.
He added that the fruit flavours, sports sponsorship and other marketing techniques surrounding electronic cigarettes were the result of advertisers deliberately targeting children and teenagers.
BMA Northern Ireland council chair Paul Darragh said e-cigarettes were still an addictive product containing nicotine.
BMA senior director Vivienne Nathanson said there was increasing evidence that young people were using e-cigarettes as an entry portal to nicotine addiction.
However, Dorset locum GP L-J Evans said, as a former heavy smoker, she could see the merit in e-cigarettes, which had helped her to quit a 30-a-day habit three years ago.
‘Let us not be so puritanical,’ she said, outlining the benefits of steering people away from cigarettes.
‘Harm reduction is surely better than nothing.’
The BMA plans to lobby for the restriction of e-cigarette advertising in the UK.
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