The University of East Anglia conducted a trial study targeting vulnerable and disadvantaged smokers who had failed to quit smoking by other means. Like other e-Cigarette voucher schemes that have been piloted across the UK, it met with huge success and left organisers saying they want to see it become a national strategy for the NHS.
Stop smoking staff, vape shop staff and GPs were recruited by the University of East Anglia academics to help them target vape starter kit vouchers to hardened smokers in Great Yarmouth.
These patients with co-morbidities had previously tried and failed to quit smoking. They received a vape shop voucher to be redeemed for an initial starter kit, alongside support from the stop smoking service.
In the published research paper, the authors wrote: “In total, 668 participants were referred to the scheme, and 340 participants redeemed a voucher.
“Overall, the pilot project was well received by clients as it offered an affordable route into vaping for smoking cessation. GPs supported the scheme and appreciated being able to offer an alternative to entrenched smokers.”
Great Yarmouth was chosen because it is an area of marked deprivation and health inequality. Great Yarmouth has the highest number of smokers in Norfolk, “amongst adult routine and manual workers in Great Yarmouth, 31.1% of people were smokers in 2019”.
The authors continued: “There is urgent need for intervention in populations that continue to smoke tobacco, in order to reduce the burden of excess morbidity and mortality that unequally impacts the most vulnerable populations, exacerbating health inequalities.”
·People who use e-cigarettes to quit smoking are twice as likely to succeed as people who use other nicotine replacement products
·E-cigarettes have become the most popular UK consumer choice for smoking cessation
·Simplified regulation processes may mean that e-cigarettes could soon be prescribed
·E-cigarettes are popular and effective for smoking cessation
·Some people need support to switch to vaping and avoid smoking relapse
Lead author Professor Caitlin Notley said: “Our research has previously shown that [vapes] may be particularly helpful in helping people to not only quit, but to stay quit for good. This innovative approach saw the NHS local stop smoking service, vape retailers and researchers working together, recognising that other forms of smoking cessation support do not work for everyone.
“This scheme enabled 42 per cent of entrenched smokers who redeemed a voucher to have successfully quit smoking at four weeks. This is especially important because it helped those who have tried and failed to quit smoking many times to move away from tobacco.
“Overall, the project was well received by smokers as it offered an affordable route into vaping. GPs supported the scheme and appreciated being able to offer an alternative to entrenched smokers.”
‘A pilot e-cigarette voucher scheme in a rural county of the United Kingdom’ is published in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research.