A new trial is being launched to uncover whether providing e-cigarettes to homeless people will push them to quit smoking.
Dr Smita Pakhale will carry out a clinical trial in Ottawa, Canada, to discover if e-cigarettes are an effective tool to help marginalized groups such as the homeless, quit smoking. 200 homeless people from Ottawa and Toronto will be randomly selected to take part in the controlled trial, which is funded by a $100,000 grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research,
The participants in the trail will be split into two groups. The first will receive convention smoking cessation tools such as nicotine patches and gum, the second will be given electronic cigarettes. Both groups will have access to nursing care and peer support.
Speaking about the study Dr Pakhale stated, “We’re trying to understand if e-cigarettes can be in our toolbox since they have some features that could be attractive: They can deliver calculated doses of nicotine in an inhaled fashion and, secondly, they can give smokers that hand-to-mouth gesture that they crave.”
Research suggests that the majority of smokers do want to quit smoking and this includes marginalized groups like the homeless. Pakhale said ““Even in the healthcare field, we don’t treat tobacco as a chronic disease for homeless people, which is what we should be doing. From head to toe, each and every organ is affected by smoking.”
One of the main issues that the trial is going to address is the financial implications that homeless people face when trying to access tools to help quit smoking. Participants in the trial will be given the tools for free and further discussion surrounding this wider issue will be held once the trial is complete.