American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Annual Meeting

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Annual Meeting

March 08, 2016
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E-cigarette survey reports knowledge gap among physicians

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LOS ANGELES — A survey about e-cigarettes revealed that 50% of physicians see a role for e-cigarettes as part of a “harm reduction strategy,” according to recent study findings presented at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Annual Meeting.

“Electronic cigarettes are battery powered devices that deliver aerosolized nicotine,” Venkatkiran Kanchustambham, MD, of Saint Louis University School of Medicine, and colleagues wrote. “With easy access and over the counter availability, many patients consider using e-cigarettes for smoking cessation. Few studies have looked at long-term safety and efficacy of e-cigarettes.”

The researchers sent an anonymous online questionnaire to all residents, fellows and faculty in the departments of internal medicine and surgery at Saint Louis University, and received 114 responses (51%).

The researchers found that 57% of respondents knew what “vaping” meant, 9% were “very familiar” with e-cigarettes and 26% were not familiar. If asked by patients, 15% of physicians reported that they would advise e-cigarettes as nicotine-replacement therapy. Only 19% were aware of the presence of carcinogens and only 38% were aware of polyethylene glycol, whereas 91% were aware of the nicotine.

Seventy-six percent of respondents were worried about the lack of evidence regarding long-term safety, 50% about the idea of e-cigarettes as starter products for nonsmokers, 51% about the absence of FDA regulation and 42% about marketing to youth.

Fifty-four percent of respondents wanted stricter regulation, 53% wanted warning labels similar to tobacco products, 36% wanted restricted advertising, 34% wanted banned sales to minors and 25% wanted banned use in public areas.

Overall, 50% of physicians see a role for e-cigarettes as part of a “harm reduction strategy.”

“Further research is needed to assess whether e-cigarettes could be an effective smoking cessation tool,” Kanchustambham and colleagues wrote. “There is an apparent knowledge gap among physicians and an urgent need for evidence based guidelines to aid with advising smokers enquiring about e-cigarettes.”  – by Will Offit

 

Reference: Kanchustambham V, et al. Abstract 304. Presented at: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Annual Meeting; March 4-7, 2016; Los Angeles.

Disclosure: Healio.com/Allergy could not confirm disclosures at the time of reporting.