Many Doctors Unaware of Benefits of E-Cigarettes for Quitting Smoking

Survey shows many doctors less likely to recommend e-cigarettes for people seeking to quit smoking

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MONDAY, April 18, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Many physicians incorrectly believe all tobacco products are equally harmful, according to a study published online April 15 in JAMA Network Open.

Cristine D. Delnevo, Ph.D., from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and colleagues conducted an online survey to assess physician-patient communication regarding electronic cigarettes. The analysis included 2,058 board-certified physician respondents.

The researchers found that more than 60 percent of physicians believed all tobacco products to be equally harmful. Nearly seven in 10 physicians (69.8 percent) reported ever being asked about e-cigarettes by their patients and 21.7 percent reported ever recommending e-cigarettes to a patient. Physicians with greater odds of recommending e-cigarettes to patients included pulmonologists (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 2.14), cardiologists (aOR, 2.04), and those implementing the U.S. Public Health Service Clinical Practice Guidelines (aOR, 1.77). Further, those who reported being asked about e-cigarettes had greater odds of recommending e-cigarettes (aOR, 16.60). In clinical scenarios, compared with a younger light smoker with no prior cessation treatments, physicians were more likely to recommend e-cigarettes for cessation to an older heavy smoker with multiple unsuccessful quit attempts (15.2 versus 49.3 percent).

"Results of this survey study suggest that physicians are recommending e-cigarettes for cessation or harm reduction under certain risk-based circumstances, such as treating patients with tobacco-related disease," the authors write.

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