Family Physicians' Perceptions of Electronic Cigarettes in Tobacco Use Counseling

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Recent support has been shown for physicians to recommend e-cigarettes to patients who are trying to quit smoking. Supporters of this recommendation argue that e-cigarettes are not combustible products and are less harmful and more effective cessation products than regular cigarettes, with less inherent risk. Those who oppose this idea argue that little reliable evidence suggests that e-cigarettes are better cigarette cessation devices than currently available nicotine replacement therapies, and that they pose as much risk as cigarettes. This study was conducted to explore family physicians' perceptions of recommending e-cigarettes as smoking cessation aids to patients who smoke cigarettes.


The study used a mixed-methods approach whereby a 12-item survey was sent to 154 family physicians throughout the state of Kansas. Data were collected from 117, a 76% response rate. A multidisciplinary team used an immersion-crystallization approach to analyze the content of respondents' qualitative data; contingency table analysis was used to evaluate the quantitative data.


The results showed that family physicians have negative perceptions of e-cigarettes and do not recommend them for smoking cessation. Family physicians are concerned about the effectiveness of e-cigarettes and the uncertainty regarding safety.


The results suggest that most family physicians do not recommend e-cigarettes for smoking cessation, citing lack of evidence on effectiveness and uncertainty regarding short- and long-term safety.

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