Primary care visits present an opportune time to assess behaviors that contribute to patient health. Smoking, alcohol use, and illicit drugs are routinely documented in electronic health records, but less is known about screening for E-cigarette use and the prevalence of E-cigarette use in primary care settings.
Data include 134,931 adult patients who visited 1 of 41 primary care clinics within a 12-month period (June 1, 2021–June 1, 2022). Data on demographics, combustible tobacco, alcohol, illicit drug, and E-cigarette use were extracted from electronic medical records. Logistic regression was utilized to examine the variables associated with differential odds of being screened for E-cigarette use.
Rates of E-cigarette screening (n=46,997; 34.8%) were significantly lower than that of tobacco (n=134,196; 99.5%), alcohol (n=129,766; 96.2%), and illicit drug (n=129,766; 92.6%) use. Of those assessed for E-cigarette use, 3.6% (n=1,669) reported current use. Of those with documented nicotine use (n=7,032), 17.2% (n=1,207) used mono E-cigarettes exclusively, 76.3% (n=5,364) used combustible tobacco exclusively, and 6.6% (n=461) reported dual use (both E-cigarette use and combustible tobacco use). Those who used combustible tobacco or illicit substances as well as younger patients were more likely to have been screened for E-cigarette use.
Overall rates of E-cigarette screening were significantly lower than those of other substances. The use of combustible tobacco or illicit substances was associated with an increased likelihood of being screened. This finding may be because of the relatively recent proliferation of E-cigarettes, the recent addition of E-cigarette documentation to the electronic health record, or a lack of training on screening for E-cigarette use.
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Published online: March 03, 2023
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