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Daily Dose: E-cigarette Screening in Primary Care


Patient Care brings primary care clinicians a lot of medical news every day—it’s easy to miss an important study. The Daily Dose provides a concise summary of one of the website's leading stories you may not have seen.

On March 13, 2023, we reported on a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine that examined screening for e-cigarette use in primary care settings.

The study

Researchers evaluated data from 134 931 adults, of whom 61.2% were women and 65.3% were White, who visited one of 41 primary care clinics within a 12-month period (June 2021-June 2022). Data on demographics, combustible tobacco use, alcohol use, illicit drug use, and e-cigarette use were obtained through electronic health records (EHRs). Investigators reported that, “screening rates for e-cigarette usage were almost two-thirds lower than those of combustible tobacco, alcohol and illicit substances.” Specifically, the overall rate of e-cigarette screening in primary care clinics was 34.8% compared with 99.5% for tobacco use, 96.2% for alcohol use, and 92.6% for illicit drug use. The study also showed that the use of combustible tobacco or illicit substances was associated with an increased likelihood of being screened.

Note from authors

"Given the observed prevalence of e-cigarette usage, improving the rate of e-cigarette screening for adult patients remains vital. One potential improvement could be to integrate the e-cigarette screening item into the combustible tobacco section. Additionally, to reduce burden on staff, flags for screening could be selectively utilized for younger patients (e.g., age <55) or those with a history of combustible tobacco use. Data on e-cigarette use may constitute valuable information on previous or current attempts to quit or reduce combustible tobacco and initiation of nicotine use among those who have never smoked, particularly young adults, and represents an opportunity to engage patients who wish to reduce or quit using e-cigarettes."

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