Despite the uptake of tobacco smoking declining in the United Kingdom (UK), smoking is still the leading cause of preventable poor health and premature death. While improved approaches to smoking cessation are necessary, encouraging and assisting smokers to switch by using substantially less toxic non-tobacco nicotine products may be a possible option. To date, few studies have investigated the rates of smoking cessation and smoking reduction that are associated with the provision of free electronic-cigarettes (e-cigarettes) to smokers. In this exploratory study, the Blu Pro e-cigarette was given to a convenience sample of adult smokers (n = 72) to assist them in reducing and quitting over a 90-day period. The rates of smoking abstinence and daily smoking patterns were assessed at baseline, 30 days, 60 days, and 90 days. The response rate was 87%. After 90 days, the complete abstinence rate was 36.5%, up from 0% at baseline. The frequency of daily smoking reduced from 88.7% to 17.5% (p < 0.001), and the median consumption of cigarettes/day reduced from 15 to five (p < 0.001). The median number of days per month that participants smoked also reduced from 30 to 13 after 90 days (p < 0.001). On the basis of these results, there may be value in smoking cessation services and other services ensuring that smokers are provided with e-cigarettes at zero or minimal costs for at least a short period of time.
Keywords: e-cigarettes smoking cessation free provision.