Leicester Leading The Way, Again

Posted 4th August 2015 by Dave Cross
Details have just been released regarding a national study looking at the effectiveness of electronic cigarettes in helping smokers to rid themselves of the tobacco habit. The research is being fully funded by Queen Mary University of London and will focus on three centres in East Sussex, London and Leicester.

Queen Mary University, one the UK's leading research-intensive higher education institutions, has been linked with a number of pro-vaping peer-reviewed studies. Queen Mary is home to the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine's Tobacco Dependence Research Unit, of which Peter Hajek is a director. Hajek has been responsible for leading international researchers and producing numerous studies advocating the acceptance of vaping as a smoking harm-reduction strategy.

The new study is looking to enrol 250 subjects so that they can compare the effectiveness of vaping as a method of quitting compared to the use of traditional nicotine replacement products (NRT) such as patches and gum. Anecdotally, the Leicester program has seen huge success rates since accepting vape equipment users as part of its services and offers quitters support and vouchers for a local vape store.

The Stop Smoking service manager Louise Ross commented: “We are delighted, and proud, to be one of the test sites. This study will add to our body of knowledge around e-cigarettes.”

Leicester’s service was the first in the UK to offer ecigs, and Louise’s enthusiastic support recently convinced Trust chiefs that vaping ought to be adopted in local mental health units (as a method for patients to cope while a ban on smoking is implemented).

Subjects will undergo a more intensive pre-screening than usual in order to meet the research criteria. They will have to be smokers who do not use any alternative to smoking, aren’t pregnant or breast-feeding and are open to using either electronic cigarettes or NRT. They will receive six weeks of counselling support and then be interviewed after six months and a year.

"They will be doing something great for their health and will also be adding to the knowledge the whole world will have about effective ways to stop smoking," Louise added. “They will be asked extra questions about their health and to record anything they observe and of course the results will be recorded.”

It is a testament to the work and energy she has put in that the centre is being recognised for inclusion in the study and other quit services have since followed Leicester’s lead.

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, physicist, karateka, dog walker