Where there's smoke, there's fire: what current and future providers do and do not know about electronic cigarettes.
Document Type Article
This article has been peer reviewed. It was published in: BMC Public Health.
Volume 20, Issue 1, 20 July 2020, Article number 1145.
The published version is available at DOI: 10.1186/s12889-020-09265-5
Copyright © 2020 The Author(s)
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BACKGROUND: Health care providers play a pivotal role as educators on health-related matters ranging from vaccination to smoking cessation. With the rising popularity of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), providers face a new challenge. To date, studies have identified a general lack of knowledge among providers regarding e-cigarettes and discomfort with counseling patients on e-cigarette use. This study aims to systematically explore the perspectives of different health care providers on e-cigarettes and their health implications. With a growing availability of research on the health consequences of e-cigarette use, our study also aims to assess the familiarity of our participants with this literature.
METHODS: From July to October 2018, a sample of attendings (n = 15), residents (n = 15), medical students (n = 33), and nursing students (n = 28) from Thomas Jefferson University participated in a freelisting interview and survey.
RESULTS: Our study found that perceptions of e-cigarettes vary across different participant groups, as evidenced by the range of responses when asked to think about e-cigarettes and their health implications. We identified gaps in knowledge among students regarding FDA regulation of e-cigarettes and found that attending physicians are less aware than junior trainees of the prevalence of use. Familiarity with evidence-based health consequences was variable and low across all groups. Finally, participants most commonly reported learning about e-cigarettes from news outlets and social media rather than professional platforms.
CONCLUSION: This study highlights the need for curricular development in nursing and medical schools, residency training, and continuing medical education regarding e-cigarette use and their impact on human health.