E-cigarettes popularity soars

THE MARKET for e-cigarettes in the UK has trebled in the last three years, with more than one in 10 smokers using them, according to new research.

Figures compiled by ASH, the anti-smoking charity, claim that 11 per cent of smokers regularly use e-cigarettes, compared to three per cent in 2010 and seven per cent a year ago.

Almost half – 48 per cent – of ex-smokers say that they have used e-cigarettes to aid a quitting attempt, while 31 per cent of smokers who buy them said they help cut down on tobacco intake.

The figures appear to underline the massive increase in demand for tobacco-free e-cigarettes, as well as the scale of the consumer shift facing cigarette manufacturers. Some tobacco firms have even attempted to move in to the market, with FTSE 100 firm British American Tobacco investing more than £100m in smoking alternatives and acquiring CN Creative, a Manchester-based e-cigarette maker.

However, the growing market could face new regulation soon, with the European Parliament set to meet today to discuss introducing legislation that would see e-cigarettes classified as a medicinal product with the amount of nicotine in them restricted. The regulation is aimed at preventing children who have never smoked from becoming addicted to e-cigarettes.

ASH’s figures appeared to show that, despite the popularity of smoking alternatives, very few under-18s have tried them. Just one in 100 people aged between 16 and 18 used them more than once a week.