Researchers from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey have been awarded a five-year, almost $3 million grant by the National Cancer Institute (R01CA190444) to examine how physicians perceive e-cigarettes and to what extent physicians may be discussing e-cigarettes and tobacco harm reduction with patients.
Dr. Cristine Delnevo, professor and chair of health education and behavioral science and director of the Center for Tobacco Studies at Rutgers School of Public Health, is the contact principal investigator for the project. Dr. Michael Steinberg, associate professor of general internal medical and director of Rutgers Tobacco Dependence Program is also a principal investigator.
Given the market for electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, is growing and that adults may be using e-cigarettes as a tool for cessation, this project seeks to facilitate our understanding of the potential role physicians play with respect to harm reduction and e-cigarettes. “Physician–patient communication may encourage patients to switch from cigarettes to e-cigarettes or patients may stop using them because of a doctor’s warning. This study may provide important information about the potential role that providers may play in the future of tobacco harm reduction,” said Dr. Delnevo.
Project researchers will conduct content analyses of e-cigarette messages from key informational sources, such as newspaper articles, and three repeated national, cross-sectional physician surveys to understand physicians’ knowledge, perceptions, and communication about e-cigarettes over time. Dr. Steinberg notes that “our preliminary research indicates many smokers ask their physicians about e-cigarettes, and one out of three physicians recommend them. As the science evolves on e-cigarettes, more data on physicians’ perceptions about these products and what information they share with patients is essential. “
The project will leverage expertise from across Rutgers University — other collaborators include Dr. Jane Lewis and Dr. Olivia Wackowski from the School of Public Health, Dr. Daniel Gundersen from Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Dr. Kathryn Greene from the School of Communication and Information.