Children could be drawn to try vaping due to advertisements for chocolate and bubble gum flavoured e-cigarettes, new research has shown.

The study found that school children who had been exposed to sweet-flavoured e-cigarettes expressed a greater interest in buying them than their peers.

As e-cigarettes are now being marketed in about 8,000 different flavours, it has raised concerns that the use of e-cigarettes among children could lead them to smoking tobacco later on.

The University of Cambridge study supported moves for greater regulation of advertising for e-cigarettes, including rules that adverts must not be likely to appeal to under-18s.

It is illegal to sell e-cigarettes and e-liquids to under-18s in the UK, but their use rose from five per cent in 2013 to eight per cent in 2014, researchers from the university's Behaviour and Health Research Unit said.

New rules have been issued by the Committee on Advertising Practice but do not include explicit prohibitions on candy-like flavours.

The results of the current study supported upcoming changes in EU regulations of marketing e-cigarettes, but raise questions about the need for further regulation regarding the content of products with high appeal to children.

Professor Kevin Fenton, director for health and wellbeing at Public Health England, told the Press Association: "Responsible e-cigarette marketing needs to recruit adults away from smoking and in the UK it has been effective in doing this. And there is no evidence that advertising has encouraged young people to take up regular vaping."