Despite all the evidence to the contrary, most healthcare professionals inaccurately believe that all tobacco products (vapes tend to be classified as such despite containing no tobacco) are equally harmful.
Titled, “Many physicians have misconceptions about e-cigarettes,” the current study found that due to these unfortunate misconceptions about e-cigarettes, many doctors refrain from recommending them.
The study surveyed 2,058 U.S. physicians between 2018 and 2019, and sadly, 60% wrongly believed that vaping products are as harmful as combustible tobacco products. Meanwhile found the researchers, doctors who believed in the concept of harm reduction in general, had experienced their own smoking cessation struggles, and/or had been asked about vaping by their patients, were more likely to recommend the products.
“Patient prompting—that is, the patient asking their physician about e-cigarettes—was associated with an increased likelihood to recommend e-cigarettes,” said lead study Dr. Cristine Delnevo, as quoted by Filter. “This relationship has been previously noted in the context of smoking cessation in general. Interestingly, our most recent wave of data collection also highlights that patients are asking about nicotine pouches, too, and that physicians are learning from their patients about these products.”
The data indicates it is crucial to educate physicians
Another finding worth mentioning was that physicians were more likely to recommend e-cigarettes for an older heavy smoker who had previously tried and failed to quit, while they preferred prescribing recognized NRTs for younger and lighter smokers who were on their first smoking cessation trial.
Delenevo underlined that the findings highlight how crucial it is to educate healthcare professionals about vaping. “These findings show it is critical to address physicians’ misperceptions and educate them on e-cigarettes’ efficacy, particularly correcting their misperceptions that all tobacco products are equally harmful, as opposed to the fact that combusted tobacco is by far the most dangerous.”