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Knowledge and Perceptions about Nicotine, Nicotine Replacement Therapies and Electronic Cigarettes among Healthcare Professionals in Greece

1
National School of Public Health, Alexandras Av. 196, Athens 11521, Greece
2
Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center, Sygrou 356, Kallithea 17674, Greece
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(5), 514; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13050514
Received: 25 February 2016 / Revised: 10 May 2016 / Accepted: 12 May 2016 / Published: 20 May 2016
Introduction. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the knowledge and perceptions of Greek healthcare professionals about nicotine, nicotine replacement therapies and electronic cigarettes. Methods. An online survey was performed, in which physicians and nurses working in private and public healthcare sectors in Athens-Greece were asked to participate through email invitations. A knowledge score was calculated by scoring the correct answers to specific questions with 1 point. Results. A total of 262 healthcare professionals were included to the analysis. Most had daily contact with smokers in their working environment. About half of them considered that nicotine has an extremely or very important contribution to smoking-related disease. More than 30% considered nicotine replacement therapies equally or more addictive than smoking, 76.7% overestimated their smoking cessation efficacy and only 21.0% would recommend them as long-term smoking substitutes. For electronic cigarettes, 45.0% considered them equally or more addictive than smoking and 24.4% equally or more harmful than tobacco cigarettes. Additionally, 35.5% thought they involve combustion while the majority responded that nicotine in electronic cigarettes is synthetically produced. Only 14.5% knew about the pending European regulation, but 33.2% have recommended them to smokers in the past. Still, more than 40% would not recommend electronic cigarettes to smokers unwilling or unable to quit smoking with currently approved medications. Cardiologists and respiratory physicians, who are responsible for smoking cessation therapy in Greece, were even more reluctant to recommend electronic cigarettes to this subpopulation of smokers compared to all other participants. The knowledge score of the whole study sample was 7.7 (SD: 2.4) out of a maximum score of 16. Higher score was associated with specific physician specialties. Conclusions. Greek healthcare professionals appear to overestimate the adverse effects of nicotine, and many would not recommend any nicotine-containing product as a long-term smoking substitute. Additionally, they have poor knowledge about the function and characteristics of electronic cigarettes. View Full-Text
Keywords: smoking/harm reduction; nicotine; electronic cigarettes; healthcare; physicians; nurses smoking/harm reduction; nicotine; electronic cigarettes; healthcare; physicians; nurses
MDPI and ACS Style

Moysidou, A.; Farsalinos, K.E.; Voudris, V.; Merakou, K.; Kourea, K.; Barbouni, A. Knowledge and Perceptions about Nicotine, Nicotine Replacement Therapies and Electronic Cigarettes among Healthcare Professionals in Greece. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 514.

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