electronic cigarettes, smoking, residency, family medicine, demographics
Background: Since 2003, electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) have grown in popularity. E-cigs are often marketed as a safer, healthier alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes or as an aid for smoking cessation. However, the risks and benefits of e-cig use, as well as the beliefs that influence use or avoidance, are poorly understood.
Purpose: To assess our patient population’s perception or beliefs as they relate to e-cig use.
Methods: A 13-question survey regarding nicotine and e-cig use was distributed to English-speaking adult patients at Aurora St. Luke’s Family Practice Clinic from August 2015 to January 2016. Questions assessed patient demographics and smoking history as well as knowledge and opinions of e-cigs. Descriptive statistics were used to describe patient characteristics. Associations between patient characteristics and beliefs were analyzed using chi-squared tests and Fisher’s exact test, as appropriate. Significance was associated with P < 0.05.
Results: Across respondents (N = 100), patients were more likely to be female (60%) and of age 45–54 years. Patients either had heard about e-cigs through advertisements (48.9%) or by word of mouth (36.9%). Many believed that e-cigs could help others quit smoking (47.6%) and were a healthier smoking option over regular tobacco (47.5%). Only 21.7% of patients had ever tried e-cigs. Age, sex and race/ethnicity were not associated with trying e-cigs. Those who identified as ever-smokers were more likely to have tried e-cigs than never-smokers (P = 0.044). Additionally, current smokers were even more likely to have tried e-cigs than former or never smokers (P = 0.017). Smoking status was not associated with education and race/ethnicity. Views regarding cost and whether e-cigs were a good choice for cessation also were not associated with smoking status.
Conclusion: Smoking status significantly affects whether a patient has tried e-cigs, with current smokers being most likely to have tried them. Demographic characteristics were not associated with use or opinions of e-cigs. Future studies should be done to assess use and attitudes in other clinic settings as well as use within our adolescent patient populations.
Tanner ID, Cummens BC, Kram JJ, Baumgardner DJ. Evaluation of patient opinions and experiences with electronic cigarettes at a family medicine residency clinic. J Patient Cent Res Rev. 2016;3:242.