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Student & Alumni Achievements

Student & Alumni Achievements

Rutgers PhD Student Explores Physicians’ Knowledge, Perceptions, and Communications on E-Cigarettes

Rutgers School of Public Health PhD candidate, Ms. Binu Singh, finds that despite the lack of studies on the cessation efficacy and long-term effects of electronic cigarettes (or e-cigarettes), physicians are generally not discouraging patients from trying e-cigarettes as a cessation method or form of harm reduction, in the latest study published in the journal of Preventive Medicine Reports. This is the first qualitative study to explore the knowledge, perceptions, and communications of physicians of various specialties who may be directly involved in smoking cessation and treating smoking-related conditions.

[Photo: Ms. Binu Singh]

Ms. Singh, along with colleagues from the Rutgers School of Public Health’s Center for Tobacco Studies, interviewed 35 physicians, of various specialties, and reported that most physicians believed that e-cigarettes are less harmful than traditional cigarettes, but also expressed concerns about their safety and efficacy.

The research was conducted as part of a National Cancer Institute R01 grant, being conducted by Rutgers’ vice dean, Dr. Cristine Delnevo and Dr. Michael Steinberg, chief of general internal medicine at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Dr. Steinberg also holds a secondary appointment as professor of health education and behavioral science at the Rutgers School of Public Health.

“It’s clear from our qualitative study that physicians across specialties are having conversations with their patients about e-cigarettes,” said Ms. Singh. “And while physicians are not actively discouraging patients from trying e-cigarettes as a cessation device, physicians remain concerned about the available evidence on e-cigarettes.”

The study also found that e-cigarette safety concerns varied somewhat by physician specialty. For example, pulmonologists expressed concerns over vapor inhalation while obstetrics and gynecology specialists expressed concerns about nicotine content and e-cigarette use during pregnancy.

“With the recent announcement by the FDA to regulate nicotine across a continuum of risk, it is increasingly important to monitor physicians’ tobacco beliefs and communications given their potential to influence patient behavior” said Dr. Delnevo. “Our national survey of physicians will be able to assess changes over time in response to the evolving scientific evidence on e-cigarettes.”

This is Ms. Singh’s first publication.

“Knowledge, recommendation, and beliefs of e-cigarettes among physicians involved in tobacco cessation: A qualitative study” was published in the journal of Preventive Medicine Reports.