HCPs reluctant to recommend e-cigarettes as quitting aid for cancer patients
medwireNews: Around a third of UK healthcare professionals (HCPs) would not recommend e-cigarettes to patients with cancer who are looking to quit smoking, indicates a survey-based study presented at the 2018 NCRI Conference in Glasgow, UK.
The main reason for this reluctance appeared to be lack of sufficient knowledge, with over half (57%) of the 506 HCPs surveyed saying they did not know enough about e-cigarettes to endorse them for cancer patients and nearly three-quarters (73%) saying that they lacked adequate training.
Additionally, 25% of the surveyed population – which included general practitioners, oncologists, cancer surgeons, and practice and cancer specialist nurses from across the UK – admitted to not knowing whether e-cigarettes were less harmful than regular cigarettes.
When questioned about available guidance on the subject, 46% reported a lack of such information in their organization, while 45% said they were unsure or did not know.
Noting that “Public Health England, Royal College of Physicians, and Cancer Research UK all support use of e-cigarettes for smoking cessation,” presenting author Jo Brett (Oxford Brookes University, UK) told the press that their findings point to “a lack of clear policy on e-cigarettes at the local level.”
She continued: “They also suggest a lack of awareness of existing evidence and national policy on e-cigarettes among doctors and nurses. This is coupled with a lack of time and inadequate training on smoking cessation in general, and specifically on e-cigarettes.”
Brett believes that “[g]iving patients a clear message that they can reduce harm by switching from smoking to using e-cigarettes may help them cut down or quit smoking tobacco,” which could help reduce “the risk of cancer recurrence, a second primary cancer or other complications.”
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