The Department of Health has launched a consultation on stopping the sale of e-cigarettes to under-18s.

The consultation proposes to stop the sale of nicotine inhaling products, including e-cigarettes, nicotine refill cartridges and nicotine liquids, to under-18s and would also make it an offence for an adult to buy e-cigarettes for a child.

The Department of Health said the changes would bring e-cigarettes in line with other age restricted products, such as tobacco and alcohol, and were supported by e-cigarette manufacturers and retailers.

“While we recognise the role that e-cigarettes can play in helping adult smokers quit, we want to protect children from the harmful effects of nicotine addiction and most e-cigarettes contain nicotine,” said public health minister Jane Ellison.

“There’s a risk that e-cigarettes could be appealing to children as use and awareness of these products increases.”

The move was welcomed by the Association of Convenience Stores, which said it would be responding to the consultation.

“E-cigarettes are a growing product category in convenience stores, providing a viable alternative to smoking for thousands of people,” added ACS CEO James Lowman.

“The vast majority of our members already have a voluntary age restriction on these products in place, but this consultation will provide important clarity for all responsible retailers who sell these products and ensure that they have the support of legislation.”

Meanwhile, the Department of Health also revealed its response to the consultation on proposals to make it illegal for people to smoke in cars with children. It said the new rules would come into force in England in October 2015, subject to parliamentary approval.

“Secondhand smoke is a real threat to children’s health and we want them to grow up free from the risks of smoking,” Ellison said.

“The only effective way to protect children is to prevent them breathing secondhand smoke and our plans to stop smoking in cars carrying children will help us to do this.”