College health providers' knowledge and confidence in addressing students' vaping: Evidence from a pilot study in New York State

PEC Innov. 2023 Jan 18:2:100123. doi: 10.1016/j.pecinn.2023.100123. eCollection 2023 Dec.


Objective: This study examines the knowledge and confidence of college healthcare providers in discussing vaping with their college student populations.

Methods: This is a mixed-methods descriptive study using a sequential-explanatory approach, consisting of a cross-sectional, online survey followed by qualitative interviews. Survey data was collected from 50 college health providers located at 26 colleges in the 64-campus State University of New York system. Targeted semi-structured interviews (N = 11) were conducted by telephone with providers who completed the survey.

Results: Despite high reported levels of knowledge and confidence, few providers had participated in educational activities relative to vaping. There was evidence of misinformation about e-cigarettes, and they did not know what product (nicotine/cannabis) students typically vape.

Conclusions: Findings indicate a potential disconnect between providers' perceived and actual knowledge of college student vaping and demonstrate areas of opportunity to assist college health providers in comprehensively addressing vaping with their college student populations.

Innovation: College health providers played a key role in lowering rates of combustible cigarette smoking, but little is known about how they are now are communicating with college students about e-cigarette and cannabis vaping. This paper examines college health providers' knowledge, confidence, and training needs relative to vaping communications.

Keywords: cannabis use; college health; college health provider; electronic cigarette use; vaping; young adulthood.