Increasing E-Cigarette Awareness and Counseling Among South Texas Dentists, Patients and Communities

Project Team

Project Abstract

Background: Electronic cigarettes, also referred to as e-cigs or vape pens, are battery-powered devices that deliver a smoke-like aerosol (i.e., vapor) that the user inhales, producing an experience that resembles the act of smoking a conventional cigarette. E-cigarettes were introduced in the U.S. market in 2007. Since then, their use has increased substantially. Although the prevalence of conventional cigarette smoking among U.S. adults decreased from 19.3% to 17.8% between 2010 and 2013, the use of e-cigarettes increased from 1.8% to 13.5%. These trends may indicate a shift from conventional cigarettes to other nicotine/tobacco products that are perceived as less harmful or as potential cessation aids. As the use of e-cigarettes rises, healthcare providers should be prepared to provide consistent, evidence-based advice to their patients regarding this emerging issue.

Purpose: 1) To quantitatively and qualitatively assess psychosocial factors (knowledge, attitudes, perceptions, misconceptions) relating to e-cigarette use in South Texas, identify local populations most at-risk for initiation of e-cigarette use and better understand how dental practitioners address e-cigarette use in their practices. 2) To develop a) continuing education materials for dental practitioners that will increase their self-efficacy and capacity to counsel their patients about e-cigarette use and the risks associated with use and, b) bilingual awareness materials targeted to populations most at risk in South Texas (as identified in Aim 1) that can be distributed within dental offices and community organizations.

Methods: A brief electronic survey that will be administered to dental practitioners in South Texas. Results from the survey will inform the development of an interview guide for focus groups. The research team will conduct 3-4 focus groups with 6-8 individuals per group. Focus groups will include representation from community stakeholders identified by the Bexar County Translational Advisory Board. Results: Qualitative and quantitative results will be used to develop continuing education materials that are clinically relevant for dental practitioners and patient education materials that appropriate and appealing.

Conclusion: Little or no research exists about dental practitioners’ knowledge of e-cigarettes and their attitudes towards providing counseling for patients. The results from the study will gain a deeper understanding of the needs relating to e-cigarette awareness and develop culturally tailored materials for populations in South Texas.