Rough sleepers across the East to be given e-cigarettes to help them quit smoking

Credit: ITV Anglia

Homeless people are to be given free e-cigarette starter packs as part of a trial designed to help them quit smoking.

The study will be conducted in centres across the East where, at the moment, around 70% of rough sleepers smoke tobacco.

This is far higher compared to the UK average of 14%.

The full £1.7 million research trial will include 480 participants, with 240 in each group and 15 from each centre.

E-cigarette starter kits usually cost around £25 will be given for free to people at half of the participating centres.

People at the other centres will be allocated to a care group.

E-cigarettes mimic the experience of cigarette smoking because they generate a smoke-like vapour when used.

They are the most popular method of quitting - some studies suggest they are more helpful than nicotine and gum patches.