A QUARTER of youngsters aged 14 to 17 in Lancashire have admitted buying or using e-cigarettes, according to new figures.

A survey of 3,574 schoolchildren, carried out by Trading Standards North West, also showed more than 84 per cent of regular young smokers have used the device.

The county council’s public health specialist for smoking and tobacco issues Jo McCullagh said the figures were a ‘real concern’.

“Many young people think that smoking e-cigarettes will help them to quit smoking, but there is no evidence to show this works,” she said.

The survey showed that young people who don’t smoke tobacco, 6.8 per cent of those who had never smoked and 33.7 per cent of those who had tried smoking but didn’t like it, are also using e-cigarettes.

However, a report by health charity Action on Smoking and Health found a total of only one per cent of non-smokers had taken up e-cigarettes.

Speaking to the Lancashire Telegraph late last month, head of marketing at Darwen e-cig company Liberty Flights, in Grimshaw Street, said: “Several commentators have said e-cigarettes are a gateway to smoking, but ASH has given us evidence to the contrary.”