e-cigarette
17.3 million e-cigarettes were sold in 2014Getty

E-cigarette sales soared in 2014 to become the UK's fastest growing supermarket product.

Data from market research firm Nielsen shows that sales of e-cigs jumped by 49.5% in the past 12 months as 17.3 million of the devices were sold.

Britons spent a total of £122m on e-cigs this year, which is a rise of 43.4% on 2013's figures.

Sales of other sorts of nicotine replacements, such as patches and gum, dropped by 6.1% as more people opted for "vaping".

Adam Leyland, who is the editor of The Grocer magazine, said: "As the Chancellor continues targeting the tobacco industry, cigarette sales continue to fall, down 2.2% by volume; however, rolling tobacco sales are up 4.4%.

"The rise of e-cigarettes is the biggest trend in this market, with Ten Motives overtaking E-Lites as the leading brand."

E-cigarettes have been becoming increasingly popular in the UK. Since making an appearance in 2010, the number of e-cig users has tripled to reach 2.1 million.

It was revealed in a study earlier in December that 6% of 10 and 11-year-olds in Wales have tried an e-cigarette, as opposed to 2% of them who have smoked tobacco, according to Childhood Exposure to Tobacco Smoke (CHETS).

The first UK TV advert for e-cigarettes was broadcasted in November, almost 50 years since cigarette advertising was banned on British television.

A change in the rules governing the advertising of e-cigs recently allowed the actual devices to be shown in TV adverts.