How is nicotine vaping product (e-cigarette) use monitored in primary care electronic health records in the United Kingdom? An exploratory analysis of Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD)

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Abstract

Background: Electronic health records (EHRs) could identify long-term health effects of nicotine vaping. We characterised the extent to which vaping is recorded in primary care EHRs in the UK, on a population level. Methods: We performed descriptive analysis of Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD), primary care electronic health records of 25% of the UK population (~ 16 million patients). Patients aged ≥ 18 years whose vaping status was recorded using medical codes between 2006 and 2022 were identified. We reported the frequency of vaping codes; their distribution by patient age, gender, and ethnicity; trends in vaping recording over time (including interrupted time series analyses); and transitions in patient smoking status. Results: Seven medical codes indicated current or former vaping, from 150,114 patients. When their vaping status was first recorded, mean patient age was 50.2 years (standard deviation: 15.0), 52.4% were female, and 82.1% were White. Of those recorded as currently vaping, almost all (98.9%) had records of their prior smoking status: 55.0% had been smoking, 38.3% had stopped smoking, 5.6% had never smoked. Of those who were smoking prior to being recorded as vaping, more than a year after the vaping record, over a third (34.2%) were still smoking, under a quarter (23.7%) quit smoking, 1.7% received a ‘never smoked’ status, and there was no smoking status for 40.4%. The ‘e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury’ (EVALI) outbreak was significantly associated with a declining trend in new records of current vaping between September 2019 and March 2020; and an immediate significant increase in new records of former vaping, followed by a declining trend. Conclusions: Few patients are being asked about vaping. Most who vape had smoked, and many quit smoking after starting vaping. To enable electronic health records to provide stronger evidence on health effects, we recommend improved completeness, accuracy and consistency.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2263
JournalBMC Public Health
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2023

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