Beliefs and practices regarding electronic cigarettes in smoking cessation among healthcare professionals in Slovenia

Tob Prev Cessat. 2020 Jan 14;6:3. doi: 10.18332/tpc/115029. eCollection 2020.

Abstract

Introduction: Electronic cigarettes (ECs) have generated extensive discussion about their role in smoking cessation. The Slovenia National Institute of Public Health's recommendations state that ECs are not to be recommended for smoking cessation or reduction. The aim of this study was to explore how healthcare professionals working in the field of preventive healthcare and smoking cessation in Slovenia communicate with and counsel patients regarding electronic cigarettes and smoking cessation or reduction.

Methods: A cross-sectional, web-based survey was conducted among healthcare professionals working in the field of preventive healthcare and smoking cessation in Slovenia. A total of 479 healthcare professionals were included in the analysis.

Results: While a minority of participants (12.7%) do or would recommend electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation or reduction in general, a higher proportion of participants (33.1%) would recommend electronic cigarettes to specific groups of patients. Knowledge on electronic cigarettes was the key determinant of differences in recommendations. Only a minority of participants (9.1%) reported availability of workplace guidelines/recommendations regarding counselling about electronic cigarettes.

Conclusions: Training programmes, educational materials and existing guidelines/recommendations regarding counselling about electronic cigarette use should be provided and distributed among healthcare professionals, together with efforts to ensure compliance to official guidelines/recommendations.

Keywords: counselling; electronic cigarettes; healthcare professionals; preventive health care; smoking cessation.