Apr 18, 2022 - Health

Study: Many doctors have misconceptions about e-cigarettes

A man smokes an e-cigarette.

Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

More than 60% of all doctors incorrectly believed all tobacco products are equally harmful, making them less likely to recommend e-cigarettes for people trying to quit smoking, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open.

Why it matters: While the FDA has not approved e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation device, there is growing evidence they may help lure smokers to a less harmful option, the study authors note.

  • In the study, led by Rutgers University, researchers asked more than 2,000 doctors in the U.S. in 2018 and 2019 about how they would advise patients on e-cigarettes. One in four physicians discouraged all use of e-cigarettes and were more likely to advise against them if the hypothetical smoker they were counseling were a younger, light smoker compared to an older, heavy smoker.
  • Only 22% recommended the products.

What they're saying: "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," lead author Cristine Delnevo, the director of the Rutgers Center for Tobacco Studies, said in a statement.

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