Health and Social Work
College Health Providers and E-Cigarette Use


College Health Providers and E-Cigarette Use



Sally Salzer and Jessica Kulak, HEW 495:
Faculty Mentor: Professor Jessica Kulak, Health and Wellness

Background: The use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) among college students has continued to increase in the United States. College health providers are in a leadership position with an opportunity to counsel and educate students; however, providers have expressed barriers in effectively reducing student use. Objective: Qualitative interviews assessed college health providers’ knowledge and attitudes regarding use of e-cigarettes on their campus. Methods: Data was collected from six phone interviews with college health providers in March 2020. A variety of open-ended questions were asked, such as: (1) providers position at the health center; (2) awareness and knowledge of e-cigarette use on their college campus; (3) perceived student knowledge of nicotine in e-cigarettes; (4) reasons students on campus provide for their e-cigarette use and what the college provides as alternatives; and (5) college health provider training preference and current trainings available. Results: All providers acknowledged that e-cigarette use on their campus is a health concern. During traditional health intakes, a question regarding e-cigarette use is asked, but not necessarily followed up on. All providers mentioned a lack of student awareness on the amount of nicotine in e-cigarettes. Two providers mentioned the use of motivational interviewing when counseling students, and one mentioned the use of peer educators as an option on their campus. Conclusion: Results suggest that provider knowledge and access to tangible resources on e-cigarettes would help facilitate smoother conversations with students regarding e-cigarette use. Training on motivational interviewing and implementing peer education programs may be needed to effectively support students on college campuses.

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College Health Providers and E-Cigarette Use