From the looks of it today, you can say e-cigarettes have started a real revolution among former smokers and their popularity has never been higher. And not only in the US but also in major European countries like the United Kingdom more and more people are making the switch from the nasty tobacco to the slicker battery operated gizmos. Here a rather peculiar trend is in the way, as consumers spending less on traditional groceries and more on ‘free form’ products. Items like dairy free and gluten free have become in 2014 mainstream products as opposed to the year before that, when they only could have been categorized as a niche.

ecig shopping However, between the products with a dramatic sales increase, by far electronic cigarettes occupy the first place. These devices are battery powered and they usually come in two categories – traditional two piece cig-a-likes and disposables or the more powerful tank systems and mech mods. Their working principle is simple and it involves a heating element (called an atomizer) that is heated up by the battery and transforms a steady flow of nicotine infused e-liquid into a breathable mist. They come in all shapes and sizes but their main characteristic is to give an experience similar to that of smoking and keep users away from combustible tobacco.

And despite the fact that there is an ongoing controversy over the safety of e-smoking, e-cigarettes have been the best selling product in supermarket shelves all across Britain, with customers becoming more self-cautious about the effects of the items they are using on their health and the environment. This trend has been spotted by Nielsen, a company doing marketing research in the UK and included surveys in all of the top 10 supermarket chains – except discounters like Aldi or Lidl.

According to the survey, e-cigarettes have seen a massive boom in sales of around 49.5 percent in 2014 alone, despite serious efforts from health organizations to get the products banned and regulated. But these devices alone could not compensate for a harsh financial year in the UK, where consumers were expected to spend 0.7 percent less than in 2013.

The increase in electronic cigarette sales can also relate to the 6.1 percent drop in the sales of alternative nicotine delivery systems such as inhalers, patches or gum. At the same time combustible tobacco cigarettes continued plummeting on a straight curve of 2.2 percent in 2014.

2015 is also going to represent a tough year for the electronic cigarette market, with an imminent consolidation of the industry and probably a great number of smaller companies being purchased by the big tobacco players.