If you are a smoker and looking to quit here is one of the ways the NHS is supporting alternatives to combustible cigarettes.
The NHS Free Electronic Cigarette Trial
At the moment e-cigarettes aren’t available through the NHS. However, trials will be taking place in London, Norfolk, Leicester and Edinburgh hospitals later on this year. These trials will involve giving free vape kits to smokers through the NHS.
Participants in the trials will be split into two groups, with the first receiving a vape starter kit along with e-liquid for the device. The other group will be given a leaflet about local smoking cessation services. Over 6 months both groups will be monitored with regular checks to see if they have stopped smoking. The data will then be used to analyse the behaviours of both groups to see what has been effective in deterring them from smoking.
Can Anyone Participate?
The participants for this trial have to be smokers, as the aim is to get cigarette users to quit. At the moment it doesn’t specify whether there is a signing up process. Although, it does state that smokers that attend A&E will be offered to participate.
Why Are the NHS Giving Out Free E-Cigarettes?
As stated by Public Health England, the use of e-cigs is at least 95% less harmful than smoking regular cigarettes. Even charities such as Cancer Research UK have backed this, however public opinion is still mixed. Over half of smokers believe it is just as, if not more harmful to vape than smoke. It is important that this narrative is corrected.
What Does the Future Hold for E-Cigs?
If this trial is successful and implemented across the UK it could see a massive decline in smoking. Professor John Newton at Public Health England stated that “The best thing that a smoker can do is to stop smoking completely and the evidence shows that vaping is one of the most effective quit aids available, helping around 50,000 smokers quit a year.” If this is rolled out nationally through the NHS it can be a huge step in saving more lives.