Toward the Development of a Physician Training Curriculum to Improve Discussions about Electronic Cigarettes with Adolescent Athlete Patients




Peterson, Emily B.

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Electronic cigarettes – also known as e-cigarettes or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) – are battery-operated devices that dispense nicotine through vapors inhaled by the user. E-cigarette use, or “vaping,” has been rapidly increasing the in United States since its introduction to the market in 2008, especially among adolescents (Stimson, Thom, & Costall, 2014). While only 1-3% of high schoolers reported vaping in 2011, 13.4% reported vaping in 2014 – more than any other tobacco product (Arrazola et al., 2015). The potential harm of e-cigarettes for adolescents is two-fold. First, public health scholars are concerned that e-cigarette use may renormalize cigarette use among youth (Fairchild, Bayer, & Colgrove, 2013). Second, while marketed as a “healthy tobacco alternative,” e-cigarettes often contain nicotine and other hazardous substance which may be detrimental to health (Dwyer et al., 2009; Jensen, Luo, Pankow, Strongin, & Peyton, 2015). Primary healthcare providers (PHP) have played an important role in decreasing the prevalence of other risky behaviors among adolescents, and also have the potential to decreasing vaping prevalence among this demographic (Merzel et al., 2004). Providers may have an especially strong influence on adolescent athletes, who both see their PHP more frequently than non-athletes and are also at higher risk of using alternative tobacco products (Woolf, Rimal, & Sripad, 2014). However, PHPs cite a lack of knowledge about e-cigarettes and insufficient efficacy for successfully initiating and managing discussions about e-cigarettes with patients (Pepper et al., 2014).



Communication, Public health