Introduction: Smokers are likely asking their physicians about the safety of e-cigarettes and their potential role as a cessation tool; however, the research literature on this communication is scant. A pilot study of physicians in the United States was conducted to investigate physician-patient communication regarding e-cigarettes.
Methods: A total of 158 physicians were recruited from a direct marketing e-mail list and completed a short, web-based survey between January and April 2014. The survey addressed demographics, physician specialty, patient-provider e-cigarette communication, and attitudes towards tobacco harm reduction.
Results: Nearly two-thirds (65%) of physicians reported being asked about e-cigarettes by their patients, and almost a third (30%) reported that they have recommended e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool. Male physicians were significantly more likely to endorse a harm reduction approach.
Discussion: Physician communication about e-cigarettes may shape patients' perceptions about the products. More research is needed to explore the type of information that physicians share with their patients regarding e-cigarettes and harm reduction.
Keywords: E-cigarettes; Harm reduction; Physicians; Tobacco.