The aim is improving health and easing the financial burden of purchasing cigarettes.
A study conducted earlier this year, looked into the feasibility of distributing e-cigarettes to smokers attending homeless centres in Britain, with the aim of improving their health and ease the financial burden of purchasing cigarettes.
As part of this earlier trial, four homeless centres in Great Britain were allocated to either a Usual Care (UC) or E-Cigarette (EC) group. The 32 participants in the UC group, received smoking cessation advice and were offered support by a local Stop Smoking Service. The 48 EC group participants were given a vape starter kit with a 4-week e-liquid supply.
The compiled results had indicated that in both groups, depression and anxiety scores declined over the course of the study. However, the group who received vape starter kits indicated more smoking cessation success. “The EC intervention was well received with minimal negative effects and very few unintended consequences (e.g. lost, theft, adding illicit substances),” reported the researchers.
The objective of this trial was assessing the feasibility of supplying smokers attending homeless centres with free e-cigarette starter kits and estimate parameters so as to inform possible future trials conducted on a larger scale.
A larger trial to be conducted
Subsequently, a larger trial is to be conducted, this time including 32 centres for the homeless across five regions in the UK – Scotland, Wales, London, the South East and the East of England. Vape starter kits, costing an average of about £25 each, will be given for free to people attending 50% of the participating centres, while people at the other centres will be allocated to a care group.
The current trial will include 480 participants, with 240 in each group and 15 from each centre. Prof Caitlin Notley, from the University of East Anglia’s Norwich Medical School, highlighted that the percentage of homeless people who smoke is higher than the one in the general population. “We know that around 70% of people who are homeless smoke tobacco – this is far higher than the UK average of 14.1%. We also know that e-cigarettes are the most popular method of quitting smoking, with some studies suggesting they are more helpful aids than nicotine gum or patches and much less harmful than smoking tobacco.”
She reiterated that e-cigarettes are effective smoking cessation tools because vaping mimics smoking. “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.”
Read Further: ITV