Lung cancer specialist physicians’ attitudes towards e-cigarettes: A nationwide surveyReport as inadecuate

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Despite a sharp increase in e-cigarette use, there is debate about whether e-cigarettes are a viable alternative for harm reduction, and the forms that regulation should take. Healthcare providers can be effective in offering guidance to patients and their families and shaping regulatory policy. We described lung cancer specialists’ attitudes toward e-cigarettes and its regulation.


We undertook a nationwide survey of pulmonologists, thoracic surgeons, medical and radiological oncologists who are members of Korean Association for Lung Cancer. Survey items included beliefs and attitudes toward e-cigarettes, attitudes toward e-cigarette regulation and preparedness on discussing e-cigarettes with their patients.


Most respondents believed that e-cigarettes are not safer than conventional tobacco cigarettes 75.7% or smokeless tobacco 83.2%, and feared that discussing e-cigarettes with the patients would encourage use 65.4%. They did not consider it a smoking cessation treatment 78.3%, and thus would not recommend it to smokers who do not want to quit 82.2% or who failed to quit with conventional smoking cessation treatment 74.1%. Most respondents supported all examples of e-cigarette regulations, including the safety and quality check 97.8%, warning label 97.8%, advertisement ban 95.1%, restriction of flavoring 78.4%, minimum purchasing age 99.5%, and restriction of indoor use 94.6%. Most learned about e-cigarettes from media and advertisements, or conversation with patients rather than through professional scientific resources, and reported discomfort when discussing e-cigarette with patients.


Lung cancer specialist physicians in Korea doubt the safety of e-cigarette and use of e-cigarette as smoking cessation treatment, and supported strict regulation. However, only 20% reported that they obtained information on e-cigarettes from the scientific literature and many lacked adequate knowledge based on scientific evidence, suggesting the need for better preparedness. Nevertheless, the views of professionals revealed from our study could help to develop clinical guidelines and regulatory guidance.

Author: Dong Wook Shin , Young Il Kim , Seung Joon Kim, Jung Soo Kim, SeMin Chong, Young Sik Park, Sang-Yun Song, Jin Han Lee, Hee Kyung



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