Associations with resident physicians' early adoption of electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation

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Abstract

Background

Use of the electronic cigarette for nicotine delivery has increased dramatically in recent years. Information continues to emerge on its role as a smoking cessation aid, but little is known about resident physician use of the device in clinical practice.

Methods

In 2015, an electronic survey was administered to resident physicians in one healthcare system in Columbus, Ohio. The survey included questions about personal smoking exposure, knowledge, beliefs, attitudes about electronic cigarettes and early adoption of electronic cigarettes with patients. Data were dichotomised based on a ‘stages of change’ model that assessed resident physician adoption of electronic cigarettes for therapeutic use. Data were analysed through χ2 tests and logistic regression using ORs and 95% CIs.

Results

Of 338 residents, 142 (42%) responded. Of all residents, 25 (17.7%) reported that they have been recommending electronic cigarettes to their patients for the past 6 months or longer. In the multivariate model, residents ≥postgraduate year (PGY)-3 (OR=3.68, 95% CI 1.20 to 11.29), peer-reviewed article exposure (OR=6.65, 95% CI 1.56 to 28.38) and the view that addictive potential is definitely or somewhat less than traditional cigarettes (OR=5.05, 95% CI 1.48 to 17.24) were associated with recommendation of electronic cigarettes.

Conclusions

Few residents report recommending electronic cigarettes to patients who smoke. These residents consider the electronic cigarette less addicting than traditional cigarettes, supporting harm reduction strategies over strict abstinence. Most residents require further evidence-based education on efficacy and long-term safety of electronic cigarettes before recommending to their patients.

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