Marijuana Vaping in Adolescents: Evaluating Provider Knowledge and Practices to Improve Screening and Referral to Treatment

Date of Publication


Project Team

mentors Clara Keegan, MD and John King, MD UVMMC Department of Family Medicine


Background: Vaping is a public health epidemic. Adolescents are using cannabis electronic vapor products at increasing rates. In teens, rising E-cigarette and vaping product use associated lung injury (EVALI), tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) intoxication and addiction are concerning. Primary care providers are in a unique position to screen and discourage adolescents from vaping, yet barriers to screening and referral to treatment exist.

Objective: This project provided education on vaping trends, Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT), and Screening to Brief Intervention (S2BI) with the goal of improving screening and brief intervention of at-risk adolescents among primary care providers.

Methods: The educational program was developed and delivered to providers at both rural and urban family medicine and pediatric practices. Participants were surveyed to evaluate knowledge and confidence both pre-and post-education. A clinical decision support tool (SmartPhrase) and documentation template were developed and embedded in the electronic health record to promote use of evidence-based screening tools.

Results: The intervention improved provider knowledge of vaping and SBIRT. SmartPhrase use and electronic health record documentation were negatively impacted by an electronic health record cyber-attack within the organization.

Conclusion: Education improves providers’ perceptions and knowledge of vaping and screening tools. Continued efforts such as a champion for change, ongoing audits and feedback of use of the EHR tool by end users is needed to optimize screening and referral to treatment to prevent sequelae of vaping in adolescents.

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