An Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) survey has revealed that the number of people using e-cigarettes in the UK has exceeded three million.

Following a study of 12,000 adults, researchers from YouGov and King’s College London now estimate there are 3.2 million people vaping in the UK.

This is up from 700,000 in 2012. Forty percent identified as dual users trying to use e-cigarettes to quit smoking.

The researchers also reaffirmed earlier findings that more than half of vapers have already quit smoking, proving the lifestyle change’s effectiveness for cessation.

In a press release, the researchers say this a sign “smokers are getting the message on e-cigarettes.”

According to ASH Chief Executive Deborah Arnott, such a trend shows good progress and could signal better things to come, such as increased institutional support:

“UK policy is on the right track with thousands of smokers making the switch to vaping and improving their health and little sign of non-smokers taking up vaping. But even more smokers could benefit if e-cigarettes were licensed as medicines and available on prescription.”

However, there is still significant work to be done for the UK industry. More than seven million people still smoke, though this rate continues to fall.

The public perception of e-cigarettes has also improved, with 27 percent of smokers believing it to be safer than smoking this year, compared with 22 percent in 2017.

But vaping advocates and researchers are still concerned by the prevalence of negative views.

Dr Leonie Brose of King’s College London, said:

“The continued false belief among some smokers that vaping is as bad as smoking is worrying. Campaigns from Public Health England and others to challenge these views are important and must continue.”