E-cigarettes should not be marketed as a consumer product, Minister for Health James Reilly has said.

He said in some cases e-cigarettes had more nicotine than light conventional cigarettes.

He added that he saw the benefits of e-cigarettes in helping people to quit smoking, but said nicotine was also a dangerous drug.

Mr Reilly was speaking in Brussels, where he has been pushing for agreement on tighter tobacco controls.

He also launched an attack on the tobacco industry for aggressively lobbying against the changes.

He said: "They think if they take us to court others [countries] will back out."

He said: "We have made very good progress. We are moving close to sealing this deal."

He also commented on the latest European Commission bailout report which raised ongoing concerns about health spending.

Mr Reilly said the commission was "highlighting the areas they are concerned about and this is fair enough. I would like to point out the areas we made progress on.

"In terms of reduction of the people lying on trollies by 34% since we came into Government."

Separately, Mr Reilly said the package paid to HSE Director General Tony O'Brien had been approved by the Department of Health and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.