Norfolk County Council's E-Cigarette Program Helps Smokers Quit

Aug.19.2022
Norfolk County Council's E-Cigarette Program Helps Smokers Quit
Norfolk County Council's pilot program offers free e-cigarette starter kits to smokers with over 42% successfully quitting smoking.

Norfolk County Council aims to help people quit smoking by launching a pilot program for e-cigarettes. Over 60% of the smokers who redeemed coupons for free e-cigarette starter kits were able to quit smoking within a month. Many smokers in Norfolk have failed to quit in the past, and as part of the trial, they were referred to professional smoking cessation services and offered a £25 voucher to exchange for an e-cigarette starter kit.


The program initially targeted patients from the city of Exeter, who were referred by general practitioners, self-referred, or referred through other healthcare providers.


People have been given advice and support and have been asked to cover the ongoing cost of using e-cigarettes. From December 2019 to July 2021, a total of 668 participants were referred to the program, with 340 people redeeming vouchers for e-cigarette starter kits. Out of the 340 people who redeemed the vouchers, 143 individuals (42%) quit smoking four weeks prior. A pilot program in Norfolk recorded that 42% of smokers quit smoking four weeks after using the vouchers to obtain a free e-cigarette starter kit.


A pilot program in Norfolk has found that 42% of smokers who received a free starter kit for electronic cigarettes using vouchers had quit smoking after four weeks. The average age of those referred to the program was 41.4 years old. Funded by the Norfolk County Council, the program has been expanded throughout the county with hopes of national implementation to aid more smokers in quitting. Professor Caitlin Notley, Chief Investigator at the Norwich Medical School at the University of East Anglia (UEA), stated that "research suggests that electronic cigarettes are an effective method for quitting smoking compared to nicotine replacement therapies such as patches and gum.


Electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes are now the most popular method for quitting smoking. Previous research suggests they may be particularly helpful in assisting people to quit smoking for good. We wanted to see if offering e-cigarette shop vouchers and support for smoking cessation services from general practitioners could help smokers quit. We specifically wanted to target vulnerable and disadvantaged smokers who have been unable to quit by other means. "This program helped 42% of entrenched smokers quit within four weeks of redeeming their voucher, which is particularly important as it helps those who have tried to quit multiple times to move away from tobacco. Overall, the program has been well received by smokers since it provides an affordable pathway to e-cigarettes. General practitioners support the program and appreciate the alternatives it provides entrenched smokers.


The study titled "Pilot E-cigarette Voucher Scheme in Rural English Counties" was commissioned by Norfolk County Council and led by the University of East Anglia. Researchers collaborated with public health teams and local smoking cessation service Smokefree Norfolk. The study was published in the Nicotine and Tobacco Research journal.


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