Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care



E-cigarettes for Smoking Cessation And reduction in People with mEntal illness (ESCAPE trial)

The proportion of people with mental illness (PWMI) who smoke tobacco is extremely high compared with the general population. It can reach figures over 70% among those with certain mental illness (e.g. schizophrenia). Smoking causes large amounts of disease and deaths among PWMI, who lose up to 20 years of life mainly to the consequences of smoking - often cancer. Although PMWI are similarly motivated to quit as people without mental illness, giving up smoking can be difficult for PWMI because of limited access to support and high dependence. There is therefore a clear need to develop better support strategies for this population. Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), which deliver nicotine without most of the harmful substance in tobacco smoke, have been recognised as a potentially helpful tool. The ESCAPE trial will assess whether offering PWMI e-cigarettes in addition to standard support is better than standard support alone. We will first conduct a feasibility trial to assess whether the intervention can be implemented successfully. Based on our insights, we will then decide whether to conduct a full randomised controlled trial. This would recruit 616 smokers with mental illness in Yorkshire to determine the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of providing additional e-cigarettes for smoking cessation to PWMI.

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Investigators: Prof Lion Shahab, Dr Elena Ratschen, Dr Dimitra Kale, Dr Emma Beard

Contact: Prof Lion Shahab (lion.shahab@ucl.ac.uk)

Funding: Yorkshire Cancer Research