Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice

E‐cigarettes and the clinical encounter: Physician perspectives on e‐cigarette safety, effectiveness, and patient educational needs

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  • Author(s): Christy Kollath‐Cattano, Tyler Dorman, Andrew W. Albano, Meenu Jindal, Scott M. Strayer, James F. Thrasher
  • Article first published online: 19 Feb 2019
  • DOI: 10.1111/jep.13111
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Abstract Rationale, aims, and objectives There is limited research on how health care providers approach the topic of e‐cigarettes in clinical encounters, especially in conjunction with other best‐practice recommendations for smoking cessation. This qualitative study explored physician perceptions and recommendations involving e‐cigarettes in the context of smoking cessation counselling, including their opinions about the implementation and content of patient educational materials that focus on e‐cigarettes. Methods Semistructured interviews were conducted with 15 physicians from family medicine, internal medicine, and obstetrics/gynaecology (OB/GYN). Results Physicians did not routinely assess e‐cigarette use among patients and reported that discussions were often initiated by patients. Only a minority of participants discussed e‐cigarettes in conjunction with other best‐practice recommendations for smoking cessation. Most others were more ambivalent about e‐cigarette safety and effectiveness for cessation and did not address the topic, unless patients were already using e‐cigarettes. Almost all, however, agreed that more research on e‐cigarettes was needed. Physicians expressed an interest in having enhanced discussions about e‐cigarettes with their patients and in using patient educational materials to accomplish this. Physicians recommended that these materials not actively promote e‐cigarettes and be tailored to patients based on their demographics and motivation to quit. Conclusions Physicians were open to improving their smoking cessation counselling and to integrating new patient educational materials that addressed e‐cigarettes. Patient educational materials that provide tailored information about e‐cigarettes could potentially be used initiate e‐cigarette discussions and inform smokers about what is known vs unknown about e‐cigarettes.

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