What do medical students know about e-cigarettes? A cross-sectional survey from one U.S. medical school

Katie Hinderaker, David V. Power, Sharon Allen, Ellen Parker, Kolawole Okuyemi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Although electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use has rapidly increased, there is little data about what United States medical students know or are taught about them. This study examined medical students' experiences, knowledge, and attitudes regarding e-cigarettes, as well as their evaluation of their education on e-cigarettes. Methods: A cross-sectional online survey of medical students currently enrolled at the University of Minnesota Medical School (n = 984) was conducted over a three-week period in August and September 2015. Primary outcomes included students' personal experiences with e-cigarettes, knowledge and attitudes about e-cigarettes, and students' assessment of their education on e-cigarettes. Results: 66.9% medical students completed the survey. 58% (n = 382) of participants identified as female. 35.8% (n = 235) were "not sure" whether e-cigarettes were approved by the FDA for smoking cessation, while 4.1% (n = 27) falsely believed they were. While 82.9% (n = 543) agreed or strongly agreed that they felt confident in their ability to discuss traditional cigarette use with patients, only 12.4% (n = 81) agreed or strongly agreed that they felt confident in their ability to discuss e-cigarettes with patients. 94.8% (n = 619) of participants believed that they had not received adequate education about e-cigarettes in medical school. A higher proportion of males reported ever using an e-cigarette. Conclusions: The gaps in medical student knowledge and wide variances in attitudes about e-cigarettes at one medical school together with their report of inadequate education in an environment of increasing use of e-cigarette use in the U.S. speaks to a need for the development of medical school curriculum on e-cigarettes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number32
JournalBMC medical education
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Author(s).

Keywords

  • Alternative nicotine products
  • E-cigarettes
  • Electronic cigarette
  • Medical school curriculum development
  • Medical student education

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