METHODS: An anonymous survey on personal use, knowledge and beliefs of e-cigs was sent to general practitioners (GPs), allergists, and pulmonologists at the University of Michigan. Statistical analysis was performed using T-tests, ANOVA, and logistic regression.
RESULTS: A total of 264 physicians completed the survey (222 GPs, 33 pulmonologists, and 9 allergists). All physicians report asking about cigarette use more frequently than e-cig use in the office (p<0.001). Respondents were more likely to attribute use of cigarettes to malignancies, heart, lung and allergic diseases compared to the use of e-cigs (P<0.001). Compared to pulmonologists and GPs, more allergists believe that e-cigs have some advantages over traditional cigarettes (p<0.05). Allergists’ performance on e-cig knowledge questions was significantly lower than pulmonologists but not GPs. Compared to pulmonologists and GPs, allergists did not feel as comfortable at providing e-cig cessation counseling (p<0.001), and fewer allergists agree with banning e-cig sales and advertisement (p<0.05). Age, gender, and faculty status were not significant predictors of e-cig cessation comfort level.
CONCLUSIONS: Physicians across specialties lack knowledge and confidence in providing education and cessation counseling for e-cig users. As allergists see an increasing number of patients who use e-cigs, there is an urgent need to incorporate e-cig education into medical teaching and research agendas.