Smokers attending emergency departments will be given free e-cigarettes and taught how to use them, in a trial designed to help people quit.
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 traditional cigarettes.
However, this does not mean they are completely risk-free.
E-cigs or vapes let users inhale nicotine in a vapour rather than smoke and do not burn tobacco or produce tar or carbon monoxide, unlike usual cigarettes.
BBC News – 2021-04-29.