Campaigners claim a BAN on disposable vapes to prevent children becoming addicted would cost lives by making it harder for smokers to quit.
Experts warn the proposed move could kill many people who want to quit nicotine by first switching to disposable e-cigarettes.
E-cigarettes are considered less harmful because they do not contain cancer-causing chemicals – although the long-term effects of their use are not yet known.
Christopher Snowdon of the Institute of Economic Affairs said e-cigarettes should be viewed as “life-saving products.”
He said: “A ban on disposable vapes will limit the choices of millions of adult smokers who could benefit from switching to them.”
“We don’t ban cigarettes because some teenagers smoke them.
“E-cigarettes can only be legally sold to people over the age of 18.
“The answer to underage vaping is to enforce the laws that already exist.”
A record 4.5 million Brits now smoke, with 15.5 per cent of under-25s taking it every day.
“Banning disposable vapes will limit the choices of millions of adult smokers who could benefit from switching to them.”
Mark Oates, from campaign group We Vape, said: “Banning disposable vapes is a dangerous strategy.
“Children will find products on the black market and adults will smoke again.”
The ban on single-use items is expected to be announced in a Department of Health and Social Care consultation next week.
A study published today in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews showed that they also offer the best way to quit smoking tobacco for good.
Dr. Jamie Hartmann-Boyce, from the University of Oxford, said: “The best thing someone who smokes can do for their health is to stop smoking.”
“Our results provide clear evidence of the effectiveness of nicotine e-cigarettes and combined nicotine replacement therapies to help people quit smoking.”