RESEARCH PAPER
Beliefs and practices regarding electronic cigarettes in smoking cessation among healthcare professionals in Slovenia
Helena Koprivnikar 1  
,  
Tina Zupanič 2
,  
 
 
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1
National Institute of Public Health, Ljubljana, Slovenia
2
General Hospital Murska Sobota, Murska Sobota, Slovenia
3
Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR
Helena Koprivnikar   

Analysis and Development of Health Department, National Institute of Public Health, Trubarjeva 2, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Publication date: 2020-01-14
Submission date: 2019-09-26
Final revision date: 2019-11-22
Acceptance date: 2019-12-03
 
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2020;6(January):3
KEYWORDS
TOPICS
ABSTRACT
Introduction:
Electronic cigarettes (ECs) have generated extensive discussion about their role in smoking cessation. The Slovenia National Institute of Public Health’s recommendations state that ECs are not to be recommended for smoking cessation or reduction. The aim of this study was to explore how healthcare professionals working in the field of preventive healthcare and smoking cessation in Slovenia communicate with and counsel patients regarding electronic cigarettes and smoking cessation or reduction.

Methods:
A cross-sectional, web-based survey was conducted among healthcare professionals working in the field of preventive healthcare and smoking cessation in Slovenia. A total of 479 healthcare professionals were included in the analysis.

Results:
While a minority of participants (12.7%) do or would recommend electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation or reduction in general, a higher proportion of participants (33.1%) would recommend electronic cigarettes to specific groups of patients. Knowledge on electronic cigarettes was the key determinant of differences in recommendations. Only a minority of participants (9.1%) reported availability of workplace guidelines/recommendations regarding counselling about electronic cigarettes.

Conclusions:
Training programmes, educational materials and existing guidelines/ recommendations regarding counselling about electronic cigarette use should be provided and distributed among healthcare professionals, together with efforts to ensure compliance to official guidelines/recommendations.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
We thank Monika Azman, president of Nurses and Midwives Association of Slovenia, Andreja Krajnc, president of Professional group of nurses and health technicians in community care at Nurses and Midwives Association of Slovenia, Sanja Vrbovsek, National Coordinator for Health Education, Tadeja Hocevar, National Coordinator of Quitline telephone in 2018, Karmen Henigsman and Sanja Krusic, all from National Institute of Public Health for helping with inviting healthcare professionals from respective groups to participate in the study. We also thank Borut Jug for his assistance in obtaining data from healthcare professionals working in Outpatient Cardiac Rehabilitation Units and Antonija Poplas Susic for her advice regarding possible approaches to include healthcare professionals from Family Medicine Practices in the study.
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
The authors have completed and submitted the ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest and none was reported.
FUNDING
The authors acknowledge the project ‘Assessment of attitudes, knowledge and current practices related to electronic cigarettes among healthcare professionals working in the field of preventive healthcare and smoking cessation, with preparation of educational material for unified and evidence-based counselling to patients’ (ID V3-1729) which was financially supported by the Slovenian Research Agency and Ministry of Health of the Republic of Slovenia.
AUTHORS' CONTRIBUTIONS
All three authors contributed to the design and implementation of the study, to the analysis of the results and to the writing of the manuscript.
PROVENANCE AND PEER REVIEW
Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
 
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