A Salford based social enterprise, Social adVentures, has massively increased smoking reduction by providing local residents with free e-Cigarettes alongside 1-2-1 coaching support.

The trial, which has been ongoing for the last 18 months has seen quit rates reach 23%. That’s almost 10% higher than traditional smoking cessation methods.

Salford has 7% more smokers than the UK average with around 28% of residents saying they smoke.

Social adVentures had previously been delivering traditional smoking cessation methods for 10 years but in recent years they had found the take-up of these services dropped dramatically, “People simply weren’t interested in patches and gum anymore, the quit landscape had moved on but the health services that support it hadn’t.” Says Kate Simpson, Project Director at Social adVentures.

“We started looking into e-Cigarettes as we believed they may help people to quit and engage in one-to-one services to help them be successful. We were shocked at the lack of support that smokers get when trying an e-Cigarette in a shop and we decided that there was scope to provide the devices ethically.”

Up until that point, people who wanted to quit were going into retail outlets and were being sold devices, “we found that often people were upsold fancy devices that they didn’t really need, someone who really wants to quit wants to do this in the most straightforward way rather than moving on to something else as a lifestyle choice.

“By sitting down with the individual and finding out their smoking habits and triggers, by letting them try the device, the strengths and the flavours, we were able to find the right fit for them meaning they were much more likely to stick with it and achieve their goal.”

Social adVentures specifically targeted  the harder to reach smokers, those that were deemed as heavy smokers and, in many cases those that had tried to quit many times before.

“We measured the person’s CO level at the start of the trial and would then measure it regularly, every week if possible, even people who had only cut a few cigarettes out each day started to see an improvement in the CO level very quickly and this drove them on to continue.”

There was, and still is, some scepticism around this method of smoking cessation, “a lot of other providers were very wary when we started the trial, but now they have seen the results they are all getting on board and we are really pleased to be able to share our learning with others so that we can ultimately help more people quit smoking.”

Social adVentures is now looking into ways of making their ethical e-Cigarette service accessible to more people across Greater Manchester.