NHS vape starter kits could help quit smoking | Panda Anku

Issuing vape starter kit vouchers via the NHS could even help die-hard smokers quit smoking, according to a new study from the University of East Anglia.

Researchers worked with GPs and the NHS Smoking Cessation Service, which is locally commissioned by Norfolk County Council Public Health, to set up a pilot vape shop voucher scheme to help patients who in the past tried and failed to quit smoking.

An evaluation of the program, funded by Norfolk County Council, showed that it was a huge success – 42% of established smokers who were referred and redeemed their vape voucher quit within a month.

Because of the pilot’s success, the program has been rolled out across Norfolk, and the research team hopes it could be rolled out nationwide to help more smokers quit.

Lead researcher and addiction expert Prof Caitlin Notley of UEA’s Norwich Medical School said: “Research shows that vaping is an effective way to quit smoking compared to nicotine replacement therapies such as patches and gum. E-cigarettes or vapes are the most popular way to quit smoking today.

“Our research has previously shown that they can be particularly helpful when it comes to helping people not just quit, but quit for good.

“We wanted to see if GPs giving out vape shop vouchers, along with support from the smoking cessation service, could help smokers quit smoking. We wanted to specifically target vulnerable and disadvantaged smokers who have not been able to quit smoking through other means,” she added.

dr Norfolk Public Health Director Louise Smith welcomed the collaboration with the UEA on this Council-led initiative to further develop smoking cessation support services.

The team worked with GPs in Great Yarmouth to help patients with comorbidities who had previously tried and failed to quit smoking.

Around 21 per cent of people living in Great Yarmouth smoke tobacco, compared to 14 per cent of people in the rest of Norfolk and 15 per cent nationally.

As part of the pilot program, 668 referred participants received a vape shop voucher that could be redeemed for an initial starter kit at a local vape shop.

Of these, 340 redeemed their voucher.

In addition to picking up their starter kit, attendees received advice on e-liquid strengths and flavors and received additional support from Smokefree Norfolk.

The research team interviewed some of the participants about their experiences, in addition to vape shop employees, GPs and Smokefree Norfolk employees.

Prof Notley said: “In this innovative approach, the local NHS smoking cessation service, e-cigarette retailers and researchers worked together and recognized that other forms of smoking cessation support do not work for everyone.

“This program enabled 42 percent of long-term smokers who redeemed a coupon to successfully quit smoking after four weeks. This is especially important because it has helped those who have tried many times to quit smoking and failed to quit tobacco.

“Overall, the project was well received by smokers as it offered an affordable entry point into vaping. GPs supported the program and appreciated being able to offer die-hard smokers an alternative,” she added.

The team hopes a similar voucher scheme could be rolled out across the UK to help more people switch from smoking to vaping and reduce the number of people who still smoke cigarettes.

The study was commissioned by Norfolk County Council and led by the UEA, working with the public health team and local smoking cessation service Smokefree Norfolk.

‘A pilot scheme for e-cigarette vouchers in a rural area of ​​the UK’ is published in the magazine Nicotine and Tobacco Research on 08/19

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