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According to UK guidelines, stop smoking practitioners are expected to be open and supportive towards e-cigarette users. As adequate support from practitioners can be instrumental for smokers to successfully quit smoking, it is crucial to explore the challenges that stop smoking practitioners face when advising on e-cigarette use.
This qualitative study explores the challenges that stop smoking practitioners face when advising patients on e-cigarettes.
A qualitative study was conducted with semi-structured interviews with 10 stop smoking practitioners from four stop smoking services in London. Face to face interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Inductive thematic analysis was conducted to explore practitioners' experiences when advising on e-cigarettes.
Two themes were noted: practitioners' concerns and practitioner–patient interactions. Practitioners were particularly concerned regarding the lack of information, safety issues and the maintenance of addiction linked with e-cigarettes. They emphasised the difficulty of advising on a product that they cannot prescribe. Overall, practitioners expressed the lack of confidence when advising on e-cigarettes since they were often unprepared and not able to answer patients' questions on e-cigarettes.
Stop smoking practitioners' lack of confidence and limited knowledge regarding e-cigarettes emphasises the necessity for training and guidance on e-cigarettes to improve their interactions with patients on this subject. In particular, practitioners need to be provided with clear guidance on how to counsel patients about how and where to buy e-cigarettes.
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