Smokers who arrive in certain emergency departments in England will be given free e-cigarettes in a trial designed to help people quit smoking traditional cigarettes.
Patients will be offered a device, enough e-liquid supplies for a week, and referral to local smoking-cessation services, alongside medical advice. Hospitals in Norfolk, London, Leicester and Edinburgh will participate.
E-cigarettes are not available on the NHS, other than in trials, but health experts say they can help people quit.
Growing evidence supports their use in smoking cessation, Public Health England says, with an estimated 50,000 smokers quitting a year in England with the help of vaping. And NHS experts consider them less harmful than traditional cigarettes.