Doctors express a strong desire to learn more about e-cigarettes

February 21, 2014 by Sharyn Alden, Health Behavior News Service
Doctors express a strong desire to learn more about e-cigarettes

The use of electronic cigarettes, battery operated devices that often look like cigarettes and deliver vaporized nicotine, is on the rise, including among minors. In a survey between 2011 and 2012, 10 percent of high school students reported ever using an e-cigarette. However, many clinicians are unfamiliar with or uncomfortable with addressing the use of e-cigarettes with their young patients, finds a new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

"The scientific community is still learning about e-cigarettes, and while there is much that we don't know, most people would probably agree that minors should not be using them," said lead author Jessica K. Pepper, M.P.H. of the University of North Carolina Grillings School of Global Public Health.

Pepper and her colleagues analyzed feedback from an online survey of 561 Minnesota care providers who regularly see adolescent patients.

While 92 percent of the study respondents were aware of e-cigarettes and most were concerned that e-cigarettes could be a gateway to smoking, 83 percent admitted to knowing little to nothing at all about them. Only 11 percent of respondents had treated a teenager who had used e-cigarettes. In addition, most regarded e-cigarettes as somewhat less harmful than traditional cigarettes and smokeless tobacco and had based their impressions on information from the media or their patients. As a result, 92 percent expressed interest in wanting more evidence about e-cigarette risks and/or benefits so they could be better prepared to counsel adolescents.

Aleksandra Zgierska, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, agreed with the study's findings and said preventive counseling is key to educating teens about health risks of smoking tobacco and using e-cigarettes.

"At our clinic, the staff is required to ask about smoking and tobacco use. The more we ask, the more we get, and research supports this," she said. "What worries me as a physician is that adolescents often think e-cigarettes are just a vapor—that they are fun, smart, and a perfectly safe alternative to smoking, but there are real risks related to e-cigarettes."

Pepper pointed out, "Providers in our study expressed a strong desire to learn more about e-. As the evidence base increases, medical school, training programs and professional organizations should consider incorporating information about into their guidance about behavioral counseling. This is not an issue that is going away any time soon."

Explore further: Doctors unaware that more teens are turning to E-cigarettes

Related Stories

Doctors unaware that more teens are turning to E-cigarettes

December 11, 2013
The use of electronic cigarettes, battery operated devices that often look like cigarettes and deliver vaporized nicotine, is on the rise, including among minors. In a survey between 2011 and 2012, 10 percent of high school ...

Health care providers want to learn more about E-cigarettes

December 20, 2013
(HealthDay)—Health care providers who treat adolescents are aware of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), but have moderately low levels of knowledge about them and comfort discussing their use, according to a study published ...

Perceived benefits of e-cigarettes may lead to higher experimentation rates

January 7, 2014
Despite years of anti-smoking education and legislation, tobacco use still remains an important public health issue in the United States. In 2010, 25.2% of all adults and 35.6% of young adults reported current tobacco use. ...

Role of E-cigarettes in eliminating tobacco use discussed

December 19, 2013
(HealthDay)—The public health issues relating to electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and their role in eliminating tobacco use are discussed in a perspective piece published online Dec. 18 in the New England Journal of ...

44 percent of adults worry e-cigarettes will encourage kids to start smoking tobacco

December 18, 2013
Adults nationwide are concerned about the use of e-cigarettes by children and teens, with 44 percent indicating worries that the devices will encourage kids to use tobacco products, according to a new poll from the University ...

Switzerland bans e-cigarettes in public transport

November 12, 2013
Use of e-cigarettes in public transport in Switzerland will be banned as of next month, the national association of mass transit operators said Tuesday.

Recommended for you

Sweet, bitter, fat: New study reveals impact of genetics on how kids snack

February 22, 2018
Whether your child asks for crackers, cookies or veggies to snack on could be linked to genetics, according to new findings from the Guelph Family Health Study at the University of Guelph.

The good and bad health news about your exercise posts on social media

February 22, 2018
We all have that Facebook friend—or 10—who regularly posts photos of his or her fitness pursuits: on the elliptical at the gym, hiking through the wilderness, crossing a 10K finish line.

Smartphones are bad for some teens, not all

February 21, 2018
Is the next generation better or worse off because of smartphones? The answer is complex and research shows it largely depends on their lives offline.

Tackling health problems in the young is crucial for their children's future

February 21, 2018
A child's growth and development is affected by the health and lifestyles of their parents before pregnancy - even going back to adolescence - according to a new study by researchers at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute, ...

Lead and other toxic metals found in e-cigarette 'vapors': study

February 21, 2018
Significant amounts of toxic metals, including lead, leak from some e-cigarette heating coils and are present in the aerosols inhaled by users, according to a study from scientists at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public ...

Why teens need up to 10 hours' sleep

February 21, 2018
Technology, other distractions and staying up late make is difficult, but researchers say teenagers need to make time for 8-10 hours of sleep a night to optimise their performance and maintain good health and wellbeing.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.