Journal of general internal medicine 2017 07 14() doi 10.1007/s11606-017-4123-x
Electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use is rising in both the general and clinical populations. Little is known about e-cigarette use in primary care, where physicians report discussing e-cigarette use with patients.
Identify how and why smokers in primary care use e-cigarettes.
Cross-sectional secondary data analysis from a randomized controlled trial of a tablet intervention to deliver the 5As for smoking cessation in primary care.
Current smokers aged 18 and older in three primary care clinics in San Francisco, CA (N = 788).
Patients reported sociodemographics, cigarette smoking habits, quitting readiness, and ever and current use of e-cigarettes. We also asked reasons they have used or would use e-cigarettes. ICD-9 codes from the medical record determined comorbidities.
Fifty-two percent (n = 408) of patients reported ever using an e-cigarette, and 20% (n = 154) reported past-30-day use. Ever e-cigarette use was associated with younger age and negatively associated with being seen at practices at a public safety-net hospital compared to a practice at University-affiliated hospital. The most common reason for having used e-cigarettes among ever e-cigarette users, and for interest in future use of e-cigarettes among never e-cigarette users, was to cut down cigarette use. The mean number of days of e-cigarette use in the past 30 increased with duration of e-cigarette use. Most current e-cigarette users did not know the nicotine content of their e-cigarettes.
Over half of smokers in primary care have ever used e-cigarettes, and one-fifth are currently using them. Most reported using e-cigarettes to cut down or quit cigarettes. Primary care providers should be prepared to discuss e-cigarettes with patients. Screening for e-cigarette use may help identify and treat patients interested in changing their cigarette smoking habits.