Smokers attending A&E departments are going to benefit from a new trial where they’ll be offered free electronic cigarette starter kits for free.
A new initiative being conducted by the University of East Anglia will see smokers attending NHS hospital A&E departments being offered an electronic cigarette starter kit for free. The initiative comes as a Cochrane Review about vaping has been released confirming vaping works as a smoking quit tool.
The study (1), termed “a gold standard” in health research and recognised internationally because of its high quality, involved the research team at the University of East Anglia (2) behind the NHS trial.
After reviewing 56 completed studies, representing 12,804 participants, of which 29 were gold-standard randomised control studies, that vaping with nicotine e-liquid increases the number of smokers who successfully quit. Moreover, it states that vaping works better than nicotine replacement therapies such as patches or gum.
The University of East Anglia’s Norwich Clinical Trials Unit trial will see quit smoking advice and free starter kits offered to anybody presenting at an NHS A&E department who confirms that they’re a smoker. The researchers say they aim to encourage and support people to make quit attempts who might otherwise not have considered one.
Professor Caitlin Notley, an expert in vape research, commented: “Many people who smoke want to quit, but find it difficult to succeed in the long term. Electronic cigarettes mimic the experience of cigarette smoking because they are hand-held and generate a smoke-like vapour when used. They can be an attractive option for helping people switch from smoking, even if they have tried and failed in the past. We know that they are much less harmful than smoking tobacco and that they have been shown to help smokers quit.”
Prof Notley is being partnered by Dr Ian Pope, an emergency physician, who added: “Emergency Departments in England see over 24 million people each year of whom around a quarter are current smokers. Attending the Emergency Department offers a valuable opportunity for people to be supported to quit smoking, which will improve their chances of recovery from whatever has brought them to hospital, and also prevent future illness.”
The study will focus on five hospitals at first:
- The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital
- The Royal London Hospital
- Homerton University Hospital in London
- Leicester Royal Infirmary
- The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh
In total, the pair are hoping to recruit 1000 smokers into the study. They will be randomly assigned into one of __ groups: one will receive quit advice only from staff in A&E. One will receive the starter kit and be referred to their local quit service. The final group will just receive leaflets about quitting and where to find support.
The groups will be followed up after one, three and six months and asked if they had managed to quit smoking. Caitlin Notley added: “We’ll be looking at the number of people who successfully quit smoking across both groups, to see which intervention works best. We’ll also work out how much it would cost to roll the scheme out nationally.”