Modern medicine is combatting some of its biggest challenges particularly with ailments that are exacerbated by smoking. Smoking causes the deaths of 78,000 people per year in the United Kingdom with multitudes living with debilitating smoking-related illnesses. With that in mind, there has been a great effort to reduce the amount of smokers in the UK using alternative methods.
Now, in a bold and modern move, existing smokers who attends chosen hospital A&E departments in England will be offered free vapes or e-cigarettes. This is all part of a new trial designed to help smokers kick their habit. Anyone who avails of this offer doesn’t have to be attending A&E for anything smoking related, they can pick one up for simply being there.
Using Vaping to Help Quit Smoking
Smoking is an easy habit to pick up and a hard habit to quit. Led by Oxford University and the University of East Anglia (UEA) the Cochrane Review has indicated that nicotine e-cigarettes are more successful at helping smokers quit cigarettes than any other nicotine replacement therapy like patches and chewing gum. With this knowledge in mind, vaping was considered an alternative by the Department of Health.
Undergoing a 30 month trial, five hospitals will be participating to see if this could be an option for a nationwide roll out. Two hospitals in London, one in Norwich, one in Leicester, and Edinburgh will be taking part.
Not only will smokers be offered e-cigarettes, they will also be able to access medical advice and can be referred to local smoking-cessation services to assist with their journey for kicking their smoking habit.
Evidence is continuing to grow to support the use of e-cigarettes to curb actual smoking. Due to an estimated number of over 78,000 people dying in 2019 alone from smoking related illnesses, finding prevention methods has become a public health concern.
It has also been estimated by Public Health England that around 50,000 smokers per year are able to quit smoking using e-cigarettes in England alone. Considered less harmful than cigarettes, experts in the health service are predicting that soon e-cigarettes will be available as a prescription in the coming years.
This option for using vaping as a means of giving up smoking will begin trials in the autumn. Smokers will be given vaping starter packs and given support and advice along the way. Those smokers who agree to take part in the trial will be randomly assigned either an e-cigarette starter pack and referral to stop smoking services, smoking advice during their ED wait, or they will receive written pamphlets about local stop smoking services.
The research team is hoping to recruit 1,000 smokers to the trial where both groups of patients will be asked if they are still smoking after months one, three, and six after their visit to the emergency department.
While their initial vaping kit is free, they will be expected to find the cost of further vaping materials themselves and will then be asked at the intervals of months one, three, and six if they are still smoking.
Many experts have been weighing in on how vaping could help reduce the amount of smokers in England. Prof Caitlin Notley of the University of Anglia, helping to lead the study, believes that A&E would be a good place to target people who might never have considered vaping.
She believes that, due to the mimicking of the smoking experience, people would feel more inclined to use it as it generates vapour and is handheld. Notley thinks that this would be a good option for those who have tried and failed in the past and need something to replace their typical rituals.
Another expert from Public Health England, Professor John Newton truly believes that the evidence points to vaping being one of the most effective quit aids available for those who are trying to quit smoking.
Smoking is a difficult habit to leave behind being highly addictive and forming lots of people’s rituals in work and at home. Vaping is a great replacement for traditional smoking offering a less harmful alternative to cigarettes.