A Comparison of US and UK Physicians Advice on Nicotine and Vaping
In 2020, an academic paper suggested that more than 80% of U.S. physicians mistakenly thought that nicotine was a carcinogen. The implication of this finding was that perhaps physicians thought vaping (and even nicotine-replacement therapy) to be almost as dangerous as smoking. But physicians are busy people and I suggest that some, maybe most, might have misunderstood the question in the survey and assumed the researchers were asking about smoking.
To test this hypothesis, I surveyed physicians to learn more about their actual knowledge and opinion. Additionally, the UK government is more supportive of vaping and other nontraditional nicotine-replacement therapies than U.S. government, so a comparison of UK and U.S. physicians was undertaken to see if government policy and advice affects physician knowledge and opinion.
I find that most physicians correctly recognize that nicotine does not cause cancer, but that far more U.S. physicians than UK physicians still believe that it is carcinogenic. Additionally, vaping is viewed far more positively as a smoking-cessation tool by the surveyed UK physicians than surveyed U.S. physicians, and this is partly caused by the mistaken stance by U.S. health authorities.