A fifth of smokers have quit using e-cigarettes

A fifth of smokers have used e-cigarettes to help them kick the habit, a new survey reveals.

Researchers from the University College London find that smokers are 60 per cent more likely to be successful in quitting if they use e-cigarettes over other aids, such as nicotine gum or patches, reports reuters.com.

Only 10.1 per cent of smokers using nicotine replacement patches or gum have managed to quit. More people quit using just willpower alone, as 15.4 per cent have stopped with no help at all.

However, lead researcher, Professor Robert West, notes that NHS stop smoking services triple the odds of a smoker quitting, compared to nicotine replacement treatments.

"E-cigarettes could substantially improve public health because of their widespread appeal and the huge health gains associated with stopping smoking," he says, reports bbc.co.uk. "Some public health experts have expressed concern that widespread use of e-cigarettes could 're-normalise' smoking. However, we are tracking this very closely and see no evidence of it."

He adds that more research needs to be done into the long-term health effects of e-cigarettes before they're made available on the NHS. Prof West does however note that current knowledge suggests that the contents of e-cigarettes makes them safer than normal cigarettes.

Estimates from Action on Smoking and Heath reveal that more than two million Brits now use the devices.