Addressing and Overcoming Barriers to E-Cigarette Use for Smoking Cessation in Pregnancy: A Qualitative Study
Katharine Bowker, Michael Ussher, Sue Cooper, Sophie Orton, Tim Coleman, Katarzyna Anna Campbell
E-cigarettes may have a role in supporting pregnant women who would otherwise smoke to stop smoking. The study aimed to understand pregnant women’s vaping experiences, in particular how vaping to stop smoking is facilitated and how barriers to this are overcome. We conducted semi structured telephone interviews (n = 15) with pregnant or postpartum women who vaped during pregnancy, either exclusively (n = 10) or dual-used (n = 5) (smoked and vaped). Thematic analysis was used to analyse the interviews. Two themes emerged. First, ‘facilitating beliefs’: inherent beliefs that helped women overcome barriers to vaping. These included understanding the relative safety of vaping and economic gains compared with smoking and pregnancy being a motivator to stop smoking. Second, ‘becoming a confident vaper’: accumulating sufficient skill and confidence to comfortably vape. This included experimentation with e-cigarettes to ensure nicotine dependence and sensory needs were met. Seeking social support and employing strategies to address social stigma were also important. Positive beliefs about vaping and becoming proficient at vaping were viewed as ways to overcome barriers to vaping. The theoretical domain framework informed intervention recommendations to assist pregnant smokers who have tried but cannot stop smoking to switch to vaping.