A new photoinitiating system for living cationic polymerization of vinyl ethers such as isobutyl vinyl ether (IBVE) has been reported. The photoinitiating system comprises free radical photoinitiators such as 2,2-dimethoxy-2-phenyl acetophenone (DMPA), benzophenone or thioxanthone, together with an onium salt, such as diphenyliodoniurn chloride and zinc bromide. In the first step, photochemically generated free radicals are oxidized to the corresponding carbocations which subsequently react with vinyl ether monomer to yield an adduct. In the presence of zinc salt, this adduct initiates living cationic polymerization of IBVE. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.