Legislation restricting the sale of e-cigarettes has passed its first hurdle at Holyrood.

MSPs unanimously backed a Scottish Government Bill at its first stage that will ban under-18s from buying the devices and limit their advertising.

The Health (Tobacco, Nicotine etc. and Care) (Scotland) Bill will also make smoking in the vicinity of hospital buildings a statutory offence.

In addition, the legislation will create specific criminal offences for health and social care workers who are found to be deliberately mistreating those in their care.

It will also place a duty on health and social care organisations to be open when a patient has suffered unintended harm during treatment or care, through a statutory Duty of Candour.

Public Health Minister Maureen Watt said: "Tobacco remains the biggest cause of preventable disease and death in Scotland.

"While emerging evidence suggests that nicotine vapour products (NVPs) could help smokers to quit tobacco, there is a lack of evidence about the short and long-term effects of vaping.

"Debates around these concerns will continue, but we can all agree that there are no benefits to be had from children playing at smoking."

Responding to a call from Holyrood's Health Committee to provide national guidance on the risks and benefits of e-cigarettes, Ms Watt said: "The Scottish Government is working with NHS boards to establish a consistent approach to providing advice and support to individuals who want to stop smoking using NVPs."

She said measures on smoking in the vicinity of hospitals are "not about stigmatising smokers".

She said: "The Bill provides an important tool to support existing smoking in hospital grounds policies."

Ms Watt said the section of the legislation introducing a statutory Duty of Candour for patients who suffer unintentional harm is aimed at improving patient safety and rights.

On specific criminal offences for deliberate mistreatment, she added: "These offences are not about catching people who are doing the best they can in their job, they are about dealing with those situations where someone wants to neglect or ill-treat another in their care, and sets out to do so."

Labour's Jenny Marra said there had been an "explosion" in the use of e-cigarettes in recent years.

She said: "The proposals being put forward in this Bill by the Government are sensible and measured, and they reflect the growing development of the evidence base on NVPs."

Conservative health spokesman Dr Nanette Milne said the restrictions in the Bill "more or less mirror the current restrictions on tobacco products".

Dr Milne said: "On balance I think this is sensible because although it is accepted that NVPs do not have the same harmful effects on health as tobacco, the evidence base on long-term harm is still developing."