A psychiatric hospital is to give patients free e-cigarettes to help them quit smoking.

The Ladywell Unit at Lewisham Hospital will provide patients with free starter kits.

The hospital trust said that this will help patients to “transform” their health.

Smoking patients will be offered a Hexa starter kit and an assortment of pods.

It is a collaboration with online retailer VPZ, who will monitor the scheme in hopes of rolling it out across the UK.

However, critics say this is the wrong time to launch an initiative like this; amid health scares in the US.

But The Telegraph reports that “early success” indicates this project will continue.

People with mental health conditions are far more likely to smoke.

Smoking rates among adults with depression, for instance, are around twice as high as other adults.

Mary Yates, nurse consultant for health promotion and well-being at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“Smoking traps vulnerable people in poverty because it is so expensive.

“This collaboration with VPZ has the potential to transform the lives of our patients, taking them off cigarettes, giving them more money and transforming their health.”

Doug Mutter, director of VPZ, said:

“We are looking forward to working in partnership with the team at the Ladywell Unit at Lewisham Hospital to help patients make the switch to vaping and take the first steps to living a better life.

“We […] aim to roll-out the scheme throughout the UK as we work towards transforming the health of the nation.”

Source: The Telegraph