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, PhD, 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% of physicians believed all tobacco products to be equally harmful. Nearly seven in 10 physicians (69.8%) reported ever being asked about e-cigarettes by their patients and 21.7% 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 US 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%).
“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.