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How well do new plans for smoking cessation work?


Smoking is a big problem in England, causing a lot of deaths and illnesses. The government wants to help people stop smoking by launching two plans:

  1. "Swap to Stop": giving a million people e-cigarettes and support.
  2. "Incentives": offering money to pregnant women who stop smoking.

These plans are particularly important because we know it can be very hard to stop smoking and these methods have been shown to help. This is the first time any country has put plans like these into action, so we now have a chance to study how well they work.

We're trying to find out a few things:

  • How many people know about Swap to Stop and use it to try to stop smoking?
  • Does Swap to Stop work better than other ways of stopping (e.g., nicotine patches), especially for different groups of people (such as people with mental health conditions or people who live in areas where smoking is very common)?
  • Is Swap to Stop worth the money? Does it help people stop in the short and long term, and does it make a difference for different groups of people?
  • What do people think about Swap to Stop and Incentives, especially people with mental health conditions or people who live in areas where smoking is common?


Here's how we're aiming to find this out:

  • We are looking at existing surveys to see if people know about Swap to Stop and if it helps them stop.
  • We are checking data collected by local authorities to see how well Swap to Stop works in different areas.
  • We are making models to see if Swap to Stop is worthwhile, taking account of how many people it helps to stop and how much it costs.
  • We are also talking to people and looking closely at a few parts of the country to see how Swap to Stop and Incentives are working.


This research is important for making good decisions about helping people to stop smoking. England is the first country to try giving people e-cigarettes and to make a very big effort to help pregnant women. We will share what we find with the government, people who make rules about smoking, groups helping with stopping, and everyone else who wants to know. We will also use different ways (such as scientific papers, briefings, podcasts, and blogs) to tell people about our results.

Project status: Ongoing