Online Program

Counselling about e-cigarettes from physicians and dentists: Results from a national survey

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Olivier Drouin, MDCM MSc, CHU Sainte-Justine, Montreal, QC, Canada
Robert C. McMillen, PhD, Social Science Research Center, Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS
Regina M. Shaefer, MPH, Julius B Richmond Center of Excellence, American Academy of Pediatrics, Elk Grove Village, IL
Jonathan Klein, MD, MPH, American Academy of Pediatrics, Elk Grove Village, IL
Jonathan Winickoff, MD, MPH, Pediatrics, MGH Center for Child and Adolescent Health Policy, Boston, MA
Background: E-cigarettes popularity has increased rapidly in recent years, a trend that has both potential to help with smoking cessation, but also to re-normalize smoking in society. As a recent phenomenon.  It is unknown what type, if any, counseling physicians and dentists provide to their patients.  This is the first national survey to report the type of counseling provided by health professionals.

Design/Methods: Respondents were recruited from a nationally representative online panel in 2014. Adults who had tried e-cigarettes were asked if their doctor, dentist or child's doctor had discussed the potential harms/benefits of using e-cigarettes in the past 12 months.

Results: Of 2,699 eligible panelists contacted, 1,518 (56%) completed the survey.  Of those, 187 (12.3%) had ever tried e-cigarettes in the past and were eligible for this portion of the study.  Among those ever triers, 122 (66%) had seen a physician in the previous 12 months, 111 (60%) had seen a dentist, and 42 (22%) had seen their child's doctor.  Nine out of 122 respondents (7.3%) reported that their doctor discussed the benefits of e-cigarettes, while 7 out of 121 (5.6%) reported the physician discussed the harms of e-cigarettes.  Conversely 2 out of 42 respondents (5.5%) reported that their child’s physician discussed the benefits of e-cigarettes and 3 out of 41 respondents (7.4%) reported that their child’s physician discussed the harms of e-cigarettes.   None of the 111 respondents reported that their dentist discussed the harms or benefits of e-cigarettes with them.

Conclusion: A very small number of physicians or dentists discuss the harms and benefits of e-cigarettes.  This represents an opportunity to educate, train, and provide resources for physicians and dentists to discuss the effects of e-cigarettes with their patients.

Learning Areas:

Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Provision of health care to the public

Learning Objectives:
Describe the frequency of counseling about the harms and benefits of e-cigarettes by physicians and dentists

Keyword(s): Tobacco Control, Health Promotion and Education

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a research fellow in health service delivery at the Massachusetts General Hospital with an interest in the development of social policy for pediatric chronic health conditions.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.