Lack of regulation means electronic cigarettes are not categorised as a nicotine product.

Since the introduction of the smoking ban alternatives have emerged on the market. One such alternative is the electronic cigarette, also known as the vaporiser.

The global market for electronic cigarettes now valued at up to three billion dollars and growing rapidly. But are they a healthier alternative to cigarettes? Barry Cummins looks at exactly what e-cigarettes are and the implications of their current regulation-free sale.

Sabrina McGonagle, Director of, explains how electronic cigarettes work. The nicotine in an electronic cigarette is in liquid form contained in the inhaler cartridge along with vegetable glycerin, polyethylene glycol and a flavouring.

While Sabrina speaks about the benefits of e-cigarettes, the medical profession is still getting to grips with this device. Dr. Ross Morgan, Respiratory Consultant and Chairperson ASH, says that the difficulty at the moment is that we are not sure what they contain due to the lack of regulation. 

Carmel Felle, newsagent in Blanchardstown, describes e-cigarettes as a "health conscious product". 

One third level institute, DIT, has decided to assign e-cigarettes to smoking areas only. David Cagney, Director of Human Resources at DIT, due to difficulties in distinguishing tobacco based cigarettes with electronic cigarettes. Barry Cummins talks to student Stephen Quinlan about e-cigarettes and his experience of using them.

According to the Department of Health, a new EU directive will set mandatory safety and quality requirements for electronic cigarettes. This new directive is due later in 2014.