The UK offers free e-cigarettes to homeless smokers and has launched smoking cessation trials

A study conducted earlier this year examined the feasibility of distributing e-cigarettes to smokers in homeless centres in the UK, with the aim of improving their health and reducing the financial burden of buying cigarettes.

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As part of an early trial, four homeless centres in the UK were assigned to the general care (UC) or electronic cigarette (EC) group. 32 participants in the UC group accepted smoking cessation advice and were supported by local smoking cessation services. 48 EC group participants were given an e-cigarette start-up package and 4 weeks of E-liquid supply.

The results of the compilation showed that the scores of depression and anxiety decreased during the study in both groups. However, the group receiving the e-cigarette starter pack had a higher success rate in quitting smoking. “The intervention of e-cigarettes is very popular, with minimal negative effects and few unexpected consequences (such as loss, theft and addition of illegal substances),” the researchers reported

The purpose of this trial was to assess the feasibility of providing free e-cigarette entry packs to smokers participating in homeless centres and to estimate parameters in order to provide information for possible larger trials in the future.

A larger experiment will then be carried out, this time involving 32 homeless centres in five regions of the UK – Scotland, Wales, London, Southeast and East England. The average price of the e-cigarette entry kit is about £ 25 and will be distributed free to 50% of the participants in the participating centers, while those in other centers will be assigned to a care group.

The current trial will include 480 participants, 240 in each group and 15 in each center. Professor Caitlin notley, from the Norwich School of medicine at the University of East Anglia, stressed that the proportion of homeless people smoking is higher than that of the total population. “We know that about 70% of homeless people smoke, which is much higher than the average level of 14.1% in the UK. We also know that e-cigarettes are the most popular way to quit smoking. Some studies have shown that e-cigarettes are more helpful than nicotine gum or patches and are much less harmful than smoking.”

She reiterated that e-cigarettes are effective smoking cessation tools. “E-cigarettes simulate the experience of smoking because they are hand-held and produce smoke like steam when used. They may be an attractive choice to help people quit smoking, even if they have tried and failed.”

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