Introduction: The emergence of electronic cigarettes (ECs) has become a growing phenomenon that has sharply split opinion among the public health community, physicians, and lawmakers.
Aims: We sought to determine chest physician perceptions regarding ECs.
Methods: We conducted a web-based survey of 18,000 American College of Chest Physician (CHEST) members to determine health care provider experiences with EC users and to characterise provider perceptions regarding ECs.
Results/Findings: There were 994 respondents. Eighty-eight per cent reported that patients had asked their opinion of ECs, and 31% reported EC use among at least 10% of their patients. More disagreed than agreed (41% vs. 21%) that patients could improve their health by switching from tobacco smoking to daily EC use. Respondents were split on whether ECs promote tobacco cessation (32% agree vs. 33% disagree).
Conclusions: Current perceptions of ECs are variable among providers. More than 1/3 of respondents felt that EC's could be used for smoking cessation for smokers who failed prior quit attempts with approved therapies. However, many respondents were not convinced that ECs will reduce harms from tobacco use. There is an urgent need to generate additional high quality scientific data regarding ECs to inform chest physicians, health professionals, and the general public.