Participant characteristics are summarized in Table 1. Overall, the majority of physicians “strongly agreed” that nicotine directly contributes to the development of cardiovascular disease (83.2%), COPD (80.9%), and cancer (80.5%). Comparatively fewer “strongly agreed” that nicotine directly contributes to the development of birth defects (32.9%) and 30.2% did not answer this question—a potential indicator of “do not know.”
Misperceptions regarding nicotine’s role differed by physician characteristics (Table 2). Females were more likely than males to correctly perceive nicotine risks for birth defects (APR 1.28, 95% CI 1.07–1.54). Younger physicians were also more likely to correctly perceive the impact on birth defects. Pulmonologists were less likely than most other specialties to misperceive nicotine as a direct contributor to COPD. Additionally, family physicians were more likely than oncologists to misperceive nicotine as a carcinogen. Paradoxically, OB/GYNs misidentified risk related to birth defects more than other specialties.