The market for electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes is small but growing. The limited but existing literature suggests that adults may be using e-cigarettes as a tool for cessation. In addition, given increased advertising of e-cigarettes and public endorsements by certain well known physicians in the media, there is reason to suspect that physicians may increasingly be asked by patients about these products. However, despite the known importance of physicians in treating and advising smokers about tobacco use, it is unknown how physicians perceive e-cigarettes and to what extent physicians may be discussing e-cigarettes and tobacco harm reduction with patients. Given the paucity of data on this subject, this proposal, in response to PA-13- 302: Research Project Grant is designed to facilitate our understanding of the potential role physicians with respect to harm reduction and e-cigarettes. Specifically, we aim to 1) document and characterize the volume and types of messages about e-cigarettes from key informational sources and assess the impact of messages on physician perceptions regarding the safety and efficacy of e-cigarettes by conducting content analyses of relevant materials, 2) understand physicians' knowledge, perceptions, and communication about e-cigarettes by conducting focus groups with physicians and subsequently, a repeated national cross-sectional mail survey of physicians, and 3) monitor changes over time in messages and physician attitudes and communications regarding e-cigarettes through ongoing content analysis and a repeated cross-sectional physician survey, with three waves of data. The findings may provide important information about the potential role that providers may play in the future of tobacco harm reduction moving forward.

Public Health Relevance

The purpose of this research project is to provide an understanding of physicians' knowledge and attitudes towards e-cigarettes. The relevance of the proposed research to public health is to provide information about current tobacco harm reduction beliefs and practices that may impact public health on the frontline, and to identify impactful ways of communicating about these products with physicians in the future.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Research Project (R01)
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Community Influences on Health Behavior Study Section (CIHB)
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Hartman, Anne
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Rbhs-School of Public Health
Social Sciences
Schools of Public Health
United States
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Wackowski, Olivia A; Giovenco, Daniel P; Singh, Binu et al. (2018) Content Analysis of US News Stories About E-Cigarettes in 2015. Nicotine Tob Res 20:1015-1019
Singh, Binu; Hrywna, Mary; Wackowski, Olivia A et al. (2017) ""Knowledge, recommendation, and beliefs of e-cigarettes among physicians involved in tobacco cessation: A qualitative study"". Prev Med Rep 8:25-29
Delnevo, Cristine D; Giovenco, Daniel P; Steinberg, Michael B et al. (2016) Patterns of Electronic Cigarette Use Among Adults in the United States. Nicotine Tob Res 18:715-9
Wackowski, Olivia A; Delnevo, Cristine D; Steinberg, Michael B (2016) Perspectives for Clinicians on Regulation of Electronic Cigarettes. Ann Intern Med 165:665-666