A new trial is being undertaken in the Trafford area of Manchester, which will see starter kits given out to smokers. The e-cigarettes will be provided free of charge to those who sign up to the scheme at their local pharmacy.

This trial has been backed by Trafford Council with health commissioners behind the initiative looking to improve the health of residents. Judith Lloyd, Executive Member for Health and Wellbeing at Trafford Council, said:

“One of the best things that anyone can do in 2019 to improve their health and wellbeing is to stop smoking.

“We are offering Trafford residents a free e-cigarette starter kit, with professional smoking cessation support to encourage people to stop smoking in 2019.

“If you currently smoke but would like to quit, and would like to try a free e-cigarette, please visit one the 6 pharmacies in Trafford who are offering this service before the end of March.”

Ben Fryer, Public health registrar at Trafford Council said,

“While e-cigarettes contain nicotine, just like traditional nicotine patches and gums, they don’t produce the cancer-causing carcinogens that are produced by burning tobacco

“E-cigarettes are recommended as one option to help people stop smoking by Public Health England, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the medical royal colleges”

Along with the initial start-up kit, participants will also be given a consultation from a stop smoking advisor. The kits will be handed out at local pharmacies in the area, which include Malcolm’s Pharmacy, Urmston and Limelight Pharmacy, Old Trafford.

It’s refreshing to see Trafford Council embracing e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool and integrating vaping with smoking cessation services. Research shows that e-cigarettes are the UK’s most popular quitting aid. Despite this, many stop smoking services have been reluctant to endorse vaping.

A recent Public Health England (PHE) report states that 2017 -2018 figures show that “just 4.1% of all quit attempts in stop smoking services in England involved an e-cig”. With figures showing that over 7 million people in the UK still smoke, this could be a huge missed opportunity.

We look forward to seeing the results of this pilot and we expect to see a high success rate. If the pilot is successful, we hope to see other areas of the UK embracing vaping within their stop smoking plans.