Knowledge and use of e-cigarettes among nursing students: results from a cross-sectional survey in north-eastern Italy.BMC Public Health. 2019 Jul 22; 19(1):976.BP
Data on electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use among health professional students, who can play a central role in promoting healthy habits and smoking cessation, are sparse. Moreover, the association between e-cigarettes and smoking habits is still debated. The present study aimed to investigate the diffusion of e-cigarette use among nursing students in north-eastern Italy and explore its association with tobacco smoking.
In 2015, a questionnaire focused on e-cigarette use and tobacco smoking habits was anonymously administered to 2020 students attending nursing courses held by Verona University in 5 different centres. Of these students, 1463 (72.4%) answered the questionnaire. The influence of e-cigarette ever use on both tobacco smoking initiation in all subjects and smoking cessation among ever smokers was investigated by multivariable logistic models.
Most responders were female (77.1%), and the mean (SD) age was 23.2 (4.2) years. Nearly all students (94.7%) had heard about e-cigarettes. Approximately one-third (30.3, 95% CI 27.9-32.7%) had ever used e-cigarettes, but only 2.1% (1.5-3.0%) had used e-cigarettes in the last month. Very few (2.1%) of those responders who had never used e-cigarettes were willing to try them. Prevalence values were much higher for tobacco smoking: 40.9% of responders reported being current tobacco smokers, and 10.1% reported being past smokers. Ever use and current use of e-cigarettes were reported by 57.2 and 4.4% of current tobacco smokers and by 12.0 and 0.6% of never or past smokers, respectively (p < 0.001). In multivariable analysis, students who ever used e-cigarettes had 13 times greater odds of being an ever tobacco smoker than never users, whereas they had three times lower odds of being a former smoker. Only 26 students were currently using both electronic and tobacco cigarettes, and most declared that they used e-cigarettes to stop or reduce tobacco smoking. Of note, only three students reported that they had completely stopped smoking thanks to e-cigarette use.
Use of e-cigarettes seemed to be rather rare among Italian nursing students and was mainly restricted to current smokers. E-cigarette use was not associated with smoking cessation in nursing students.