The number of Britons using electronic cigarettes has trebled in just two years, according to the latest figures. More than two million Brits are thought to use the gadgets today, compared to an estimated 700,000 in 2012.
The research, released by health charity ASH, claims that two-thirds of those users still smoke tobacco cigarettes alongside their device, while the remainder are now predominantly ex-smokers, with the number of non-smokers using the products 'negligible'.
Contrary to the beliefs of many critics, who claim electronic cigarettes could merely act as a 'gateway' setting non-smokers on the path to nicotine addiction, the results of the YouGov survey suggest they are a useful tool for those keen to give up smoking.
In the poll of 12,269 British adults, more than 50 per cent of ex-smokers said they had tried e-cigarettes, compared to just 8.2 per cent in 2010, while the number of former or current smokers who regularly use the devices has risen from 2.7 per cent in 2010 to 17.7 per cent this year.
By contrast, only one per cent of non-smokers had tried the gadgets.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of ASH, told the Daily Mail: "The dramatic rise in use of electronic cigarettes over the past four years suggests that smokers are increasingly turning to these devices to help them cut down or quit smoking. Significantly, usage among non-smokers remains negligible.
"While it is important to control the advertising of electronic cigarettes to make sure children and non-smokers are not being targeted, there is no evidence from our research that e-cigarettes are acting as a gateway into smoking."
In February, new legislation governing the sale of electronic cigarettes, which will limit how e-cigarettes can be formulated, advertised and sold, was approved by the European Parliament, and will come into force in mid-2016.
Have you managed to quit smoking with the help of e-cigarettes, or do you believe they will only encourage youngsters and non-smokers to try nicotine? Leave your comments below...