Public Health staff have been working with two local organisations to support long term smokers to switch from smoking tobacco to e-cigarettes, reducing their risk of serious harm from smoking.
Lincolnshire has one of the highest levels of smoking in England, and an average of six people a day are admitted to each hospital with smoking related illness. Half of all long term smokers will die from a smoking related condition.
Recent evidence from Public Health England suggests that e-cigarettes are 95% safer than smoking tobacco and can be useful in helping smokers quit completely. Smokers who switch to e-cigarettes can therefore substantially reduce their risk of ill health.
The pilot project involved 10 service users from NAVIGO (the local Mental Health Services provider) and nine from Empower, a community interest company working principally with clients who have been through the criminal justice system.
Each participant was provided with an e-cigarette starter pack. They were supported by mentors for the 12 week period of the trial and provided carbon monoxide readings to identify any reductions that took place in their smoking.
After 12 weeks, four of the service users had succeeded in switching from tobacco to e-cigarettes and eight had cut down their cigarette consumption by a half or more.
People who had cut down or quit reported improvements in their health including reduced coughing, better taste and smell, more energy and breathing easier. They also said that their children and grandchildren had been very supportive and pleased they were taking steps to improve their health. Some reported that swapping from cigarettes to e-cigarettes saved them £50 a week.