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  • 1 August 2018 to 1 February 2020
  • Project No: 433
  • Funding round: FR17

Smoking in pregnancy is harmful to both women and babies (1, 2). Some women continue to smoke in pregnancy and finding effective ways to help pregnant women stop smoking and remain quit is an important public health issue. The NHS needs effective ways to minimise fetal exposure to tobacco smoke toxins when pregnant women either won’t stop smoking or can’t do so using the few available, effective cessation methods.

Electronic Cigarettes (EC) do not expose users to harmful products of combustion and Public Health England and the National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training have stated that using ECs is safer and preferable to smoking, even for pregnant women (3-5). ECs could potentially help women quit smoking, who would otherwise decline NHS cessation support and smoke throughout pregnancy.

Previous work highlighted some of the barriers pregnant women may have when using or considering ECs. It also highlighted that women were using ECs to cut down rather than quit smoking (dual users).

This qualitative work focuses on women who have used ECs in pregnancy, and will explore the solutions employed to help minimise or overcome barriers they had to using EC when pregnant. We want to highlight anything that helped them to use ECs to quit smoking (rather than dual use) and to feedback on potential ways ECs could be encouraged to help pregnant women to quit smoking. Understanding the differences between exclusive and dual EC users may help address what barriers were or were not overcome, and gain insight into how dual users could be encouraged to quit smoking. This greater insight may help health researchers develop ways to encourage women who would otherwise continue to smoke in pregnancy to use ECs instead, and to help women who may dual use (both ECs and smoke cigarettes) to use only ECs.

Amount awarded: £11 986

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Evidence synthesis working group

The collaboration will be conducting 18 high impact systematic reviews, under four workstreams.

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