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Risk perception of cigarette and e-cigarette use during pregnancy: a qualitative postpartum perspective

Froggatt, S. and Reissland, N. and Covey, J. (2021) 'Risk perception of cigarette and e-cigarette use during pregnancy: a qualitative postpartum perspective.', Midwifery., 94 . p. 102917.


Aim: The aim of this exploratory qualitative analysis is to assess the perceptions of risks of cigarette and e-cigarette use during pregnancy. Background: An important public health aim is a reduction of smoking at time of delivery (SATOD) from 10.6% to less than 6% by 2022 in the United Kingdom (UK). In order to successfully meet this target, we need to have a better understanding of the perceived risks associated with cigarette smoking. Additionally, the use of e-cigarettes is increasing in the general population, with pregnant women being supported to use such products if it helps them remain smoke free. However, in contrast to cigarette smoking, there is little definitive research assessing the safety of e-cigarette use during pregnancy, with most information disregarding the health of the growing fetus. E-cigarettes are of special interest, given they are an unlicensed product for use during pregnancy, yet women are being supported to use them as a method of harm reduction. A better understanding of perceived risks is essential. Method: Fourteen interviews were conducted one month postpartum with women who smoked during pregnancy and continued to smoke after the birth. Thematic analysis was conducted. Suzanne Froggatt, Nadja Reissland, Judith Covey 2 Findings: Two themes emerged for cigarette smoking; health and justifications. Six themes were identified for e-cigarette use; the unknown, experience, comparison to cigarettes, the product, advice and healthier option. A range of subthemes are discussed. Conclusion: Women provided a range of justifications for continuing to smoke during pregnancy. Women felt e-cigarettes were a riskier option than continuing to smoke.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:©2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license ( )
Date accepted:18 December 2020
Date deposited:18 December 2020
Date of first online publication:26 December 2021
Date first made open access:24 February 2021

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