In the uk 2.1 million people ‘smoke’ electronic cigarettes – west

The use of electronic cigarettes among adults in Britain has tripled over the past two years, reaching 2.1 million users in 2014 from an estimated 700,000 in 2012. According to figures released by the charity Action on Smoking and Health, nearly two thirds of users are smokers and one third are ex smokers, whereas only around 1% of non smokers report ever trying electronic cigarettes. The number of current and ex smokers who have tried electronic cigarettes has dramatically risen over the past four years. In 2010, only 8.2% of current or ex smokers had ever tried electronic cigarettes. By 2014, this figure has grown to 51.7%. E cigarettes are used by 17.7% of current or ex smokers on a regular basis (2.7% in 2010).

Ftse close: footsie climbs to eight-week high

BP, which has a 20 per cent stake in Russia’s Rosneft, rose 14.25p to 502.6p after first quarter profits were 3.2 billion US dollars ( 1.9billion), an improvement of 15 per cent on the previous three months but down 23 per cent on a year earlier.

The results met City expectations and included a second rise in the company’s dividend within six months. Chief executive Bob Dudley said the figures represented a “very solid start” to the year, despite a cut in BP’s share of profits from Rosneft by 75 per cent to 271million US dollars ( 161.3million).

The quarter on quarter decline was blamed on a slide in the value of the rouble caused by pressure on Russia’s economy from the crisis in the Ukraine.

The pharmaceuticals sector was again in the spotlight amid speculation that Shire is in the takeover sights of US healthcare company Allergan. The Basingstoke based company spent much of the session at the top of the risers board but later finished 23p lower at 3263p.

AstraZeneca, which soared 14 per cent on Monday after Pfizer confirmed its interest in a bid for the UK company, slipped 34p to 4632.5p.

Elsewhere, Barclays survived an initial hit seen after Deutsche Bank said first quarter profits fell 34 per cent due to weakness in bond and foreign exchange trading. The UK bank, which is due to publish its own figures next week, recovered to finish 1.25p higher at 250.25p.

Outside the top flight, outsourcing firm Serco slumped 15 per cent in the FTSE 250 Index after it warned that it expects a material downward revision to profit forecasts.

With new boss Rupert Soames due to start work on Thursday, the troubled company said it was in talks with shareholders over a potential City fundraising in order to strengthen its balance sheet.

Shares dived 60.7p to 343.8p, while FTSE 100 rival G4S was off 2p at 236.9p.

The biggest FTSE 100 risers were Legal & General up 6.6p at 212.9p, Carnival ahead 73p at 2370p, Hargreaves Lansdown up 36p at 1187p and BG Group ahead 34.5p at 1180.5p.

The biggest fallers were Fresnillo down 15p at 849.5p, Travis Perkins off 24p at 1720p, Johnson Matthey down 36p at 3251p and G4S off 2p at 236.9p.

15.00 The Footsie held near session highs in late afternoon as the lift from some upbeat corporate trading updates and M&A interest were added to by an opening advance from US stocks.

With an hour and a half of trading to go, the FTSE 100 index was up 47.0 points at 6,747.2, just easing back from the afternoon peak of 6,759.24 hit soon after the New York open.

In early trade on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 86.7 points higher to 16,535.5 also helped by a batch of positive earnings, including from drug maker Merck and telecoms carrier Sprint.

Today’s US economic data was mixed, with house prices nearly flat in February while consumer confidence fell in April, but investors’ attention was more focused on the first reading for US first quarter GDP growth and the outcome of the latest Federal Reserve monetary policy meeting, both due tomorrow.

UK first quarter GDP released this morning showed growth of 0.8 per cent, slightly slower than the 0.9 per cent market consensus and the Bank of England’s expectation of 1 per cent, while total output still remains below pre crisis peak.

Martin Beck, senior economic adviser to the EY ITEM Club, said ‘Recent robust monthly indicators had raised our expectations for UK economic growth in Q1. But today’s GDP numbers, while impressive by historical standards, have left us a little deflated.