A study has revealed that offering free vapes to smokers in emergency rooms could significantly encourage thousands of people to quit smoking. The study, carried out by academics at the University of East Anglia (UEA), was carried out in six emergency departments from January to August 2022, providing brief smoking cessation counseling, vape therapy to around 484 daily smokers awaiting discharge. Starter kits and referrals to smoking cessation services.

The research team found that those in the first group who received comprehensive smoking cessation support and were given a vape kit were 76% more likely to successfully quit smoking compared to a second group of 488 patients who only received written smoking cessation information. Follow-up after six months showed that the smoking cessation rate in the vape kit group was 7.2%, compared with only 4.1% in the control group.

The study was co-designed and managed with help from the Norwich Clinical Trials Unit and took place over 30 months at six hospitals in England and Scotland, including University Hospitals Norfolk and Norwich, Royal Infirmary, London and University Hospital Homerton, Leicester Royal Infirmary, Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge and Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh.

The researchers highlight that providing smoking cessation support in emergency departments can reach and gain the greatest benefit from those who are less likely to engage with official smoking cessation services. Dr Ian Pope from UEA’s Norwich Medical School noted that more than 24 million people are seen in emergency departments in England each year, about a quarter of whom are current smokers. Visits to the emergency room provide people with a valuable opportunity to receive smoking cessation support, which will improve their chances of recovering from the cause of their hospitalization and prevent future illness. The rollout of vaping could save thousands of lives. Smoking was responsible for nearly 75,000 deaths in the UK in 2019 and is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the UK. Switching to vaping could save thousands of lives. We believe that this intervention, if implemented widely, could lead to more than 22,000 people quitting smoking each year.

According to data from the Office for National Statistics, approximately 6.4 million adults in the UK smoked in 2022. The NHS estimates that smoking costs England up to £17 billion every year, including medical costs, lost income, unemployment and premature deaths.

Co-lead Professor Caitlin Notley said: “Many smokers want to quit but find it difficult to succeed in the long run. vape mimics the experience of smoking because they are manual.” Holds and produces a smoke-like vapor when used. They can be an attractive option to help people quit smoking, even if they have tried and failed in the past.

“We know they are much less harmful than smoking, and they have been shown to help smokers quit. About half of smokers will die prematurely, losing an average of 10 years of life for every additional death caused by smoking. Around 30 more people suffer from smoking-related illnesses. Smoking-related cancers, respiratory disease and cardiovascular disease have a serious impact on people’s quality of life as we age and place a huge cost burden on the NHS. “

Hazel Cheeseman, deputy chief executive of public health charity Action on Smoking and Health (Ash), endorsed the findings and suggested that the NHS and local authorities should seriously consider the findings when planning stop smoking services.

The study also found that people who received the vape intervention but did not quit smoking were more likely to reduce the number of cigarettes they smoked and were more likely to try to quit compared with the usual care group. This suggests that helping people quit smoking while they are waiting in the emergency room is effective. It also suggests that EDs provide opportunities for those who may not be motivated to quit smoking or may not have the knowledge or resources to access smoking cessation services.

“This also confirms that vapes can be effective in helping people quit smoking,” Dr. Pope added. “Based on these results, we believe that hospital emergency departments are a valuable opportunity to support people to quit smoking and that policymakers should seriously consider them as settings for smoking cessation interventions.”

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