What do doctors think about vaping?
As a health-conscious individual, you might find yourself wondering what actual doctors are saying about electronic cigarettes – and for good reason. On the media front, we tend to hear a lot of jargon from doctors on both sides of the issue – but these doctors are often in key positions to effect change and influence, and don’t necessarily represent the vast majority of medical professionals who are out there ‘serving in the trenches’ on a day to day basis. These are made up of, among others, primary care physicians, family doctors, surgical medical professionals – every community has at least a few doctors in service at the local clinic, hospital, or community health center.
The big question is this… what do these everyday medical practitioners think of electronic cigarettes?
Well, according to a new survey, they certainly have an opinion. Here’s what was discovered when 561 doctors shared their thoughts (via survey) on electronic cigarettes.
The official numbers
First off, over 90% of the doctors surveyed said that they agreed that ‘advising and assisting with smoking cessation’ was their responsibility as a doctor. Taking this a step further, 86% of the doctors said that they advise their patients in regard to smoking cessation more than 75% of the time, and 65% said that they actually assisted their patients with it more than 75% of the time.
Information! Now, we get to the part about electronic cigarettes. Two-thirds of the doctors surveyed said that their patients asked them about E-cigs at least some of the time. About 58.4%, however, said that they actually asked their patients about them some of the time.
But do they recommend them, or support them?
Further on in the study, we come to the overall conclusions that the doctors seem to have reached about E-cigs – and to be honest, the results aren’t necessarily surprising. Overall, about 37.9% of the doctors surveyed have, at some point, recommended electronic cigarettes to their smoking patients… and about 11.5% of doctors reported that they recommend them at least 25% of the time.
Surgical care providers, on the other hand, seemed less likely to endorse vaping as a smoking cessation method.
Here’s a quote from the discussion-portion of the study abstract…
“US physicians are frequently discussing electronic cigarettes in a clinical context and a substantial proportion of US physicians have recommended electronic cigarettes to their patients.”
What about doctors in the UK?
As it turns out, US doctors aren’t the only group who seems to be getting on-board with e-cigs as a smoking cessation method. In an article published back in April of 2016 on BBC.com, it was reported that the UK’s Royal College of Physicians says that there is a lot of evidence that E-cigs are actually much safer than smoking, and could help people to quit.
The College recently released a 200 page report on the subject, and said in that report that the fear that E-cigs act as a gateway to smoking is unfounded.
In fact, in a statement made by a spokesperson from the Department of Health, this was said in reference to e-cigs and the role that they could play in helping people to quit smoking…
“The best thing a smoker can do for their health is to quit smoking. We know that there are now over a million people who have completely replaced smoking with e-cigarettes and that the evidence indicates that they are significantly less harmful to health than smoking tobacco.”
The spokesperson also went on to say that the department wanted to see a wide range of quality E-cig devices on the market, and that it would be good to see products that are both safe and effective.
What does this say for electronic cigarettes from a medical-professional perspective?
In a general sense, it seems like a lot of medical professionals are at least positive toward the idea of electronic cigarettes – though to be honest, the outlook may look a bit better in the UK than in the US. With FDA regulations looming over the vaping market in the US, a lot of people are wondering just how many e-cig companies are still going to be around a few years from now – while in the UK, recent vaping rules put into place by the EU probably won’t do as much damage to the market as a lot of people feared.
The fact that Public Health England has taken such a positive stance with vaping has also helped their outlook in the UK – while public health opinion in the US seems to be ‘behind the curve’ a bit in regards to electronic cigarettes and the positive role that they could play in the grander scheme of the public’s health.
The general direction, however, seems to be a positive one. E-cigs are a much safer alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes, and are getting better and better as time goes on. As new technology becomes available, even concerns like battery safety are being all but eliminated – as long as proper instruction for use are followed. But even beyond this, e-cig batteries and electronics are getting more and more accident proof.
They might not be perfect – but E-cigs certainly offer advantages over other smoking cessation options – and doctors are certainly beginning to take notice.