Decision details

Living Well Smokefree Service e-cigarettes

Decision Maker: Director of Public Health

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes


The purpose of this report is to explain the use of E-Cigarettes as a harm reduction tool, to assist people to stop smoking, when used as part of a comprehensive package of support to individuals accessing the Living Well Smokefree Service.

The decision is to award a contract for a supplier of E-Cigarettes to be used as part of the service offer provided by Living well Smokefree.


To award a contract for the supply of e-cigarettes as a harm reduction tool to be used as part of the Living Well Smoke Free Service offer.

Reasons for the decision:

In recent years, e-cigarettes have become a very popular stop smoking aid in the United Kingdom. They are far less harmful than cigarettes (95% safer than smoking normal cigarettes) and they can help adults quit smoking for good. They are not recommended or should not be sold to people who are younger than 18 years old. They should also not be used by non-smokers.
As a service Living Well Smokefree (LWSF) are encouraged to provide access to e-cigarettes by the National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training (NCSCT), Office of Health Improvement and Disparities, (OHID) National Institute for clinical Excellence (NICE) and Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), all of which are bodies seeking to reduce the harm caused by smoking.
North Yorkshire County Council provides the LWSF to people who want to quit smoking The current service offer includes using proven methods of stopping smoking like nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) or Zyban to help to break individuals’ reliance on nicotine alongside behavioural interventions.
The proposal is to introduce e-cigarettes into the LWSF as an alternative offer that will support individuals to quit smoking. The service undertook an e-cigarette pilot in July 2021 to February 2022. Within this time period, 144 people set a quit date with the intent of using an e-cigarette as a harm reduction intervention. Of those 144 people that set a quit date with the intent of using an e-cigarette, 134 achieved a positive 4 week quit status. In terms of a conversion quit rate, that worked out at 93%.
Although the most recent evidence suggests that e-cigarettes are significantly less harmful than smoking tobacco, they are not risk free. Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is highly addictive, as well as other ingredients such as propylene glycol, glycerine and flavourings.
E-cigarettes have been regulated by the government since May 2016. From April 2017 it's illegal to sell e-cigarettes to, or buy them for, under 18s. It will be some time until studies will show the long-term impact and any unforeseen risks of using e-cigarettes. More is known about the safety and effectiveness of other stop smoking medications.

Publication date: 27/03/2023

Date of decision: 22/03/2023

Effective from: 04/04/2023

Accompanying Documents: