E-cigarette use during pregnancy in the UK

  • Bowker K & al.
  • BJOG
  • 4 Oct 2020

  • curated by Pavankumar Kamat
  • UK Medical News
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A survey has found that one in 20 pregnant women in the UK use e-cigarettes, and many also smoke concurrently. The findings were published in the journal BJOG.

Researchers conducted a cross-sectional survey to investigate the use of and attitudes towards e-cigarettes during pregnancy. The initial screening survey asked the women about their vaping and smoking status. Recent ex-smokers, current smokers and/or vapers went on to complete a longer survey.

Among the women who completed the screening survey, 15.3 per cent of the respondents were exclusive smokers, 1.3 per cent were exclusive vapers and 3.5 per cent were concurrent vapers and smokers (dual users).

Among those who completed the full survey, holding an educational qualification of A-level or above versus General Certificate of Secondary Education or less was associated with a higher likelihood of e-cigarette use (OR, 1.51; 95% CI, 1.01-2.25). Compared with exclusive smokers, dual users had a higher likelihood of planning to quit smoking (OR, 2.27; 95% CI, 1.24-4.18). Dual users were significantly younger (OR, 0.91; 95% CI, 0.85-0.98), less likely to have a higher educational qualification (OR, 0.43; 95% CI, 0.20-0.96) and more likely to have smoked during previous pregnancies (OR, 4.04; 95% CI, 1.59-10.29).

Vapers were more likely to hold the belief that e-cigarette use was safer than smoking (78.6% vs 36.4%); however, a similar proportion of vapers (70%) and smokers (76%) agreed that nicotine exposure was harmful to the foetus.

"Our findings show that clinicians need to be aware of the frequency with which they are likely to encounter pregnant women who vape. Pregnant dual users are more motivated towards stopping smoking than women who only smoke" the authors said.