Electronic cigarettes and Smoking CessAtion in PrEgnancy (E-SCAPE)
Rachel Mann Research Fellow, Social Policy Research Unit, University of York
There is scant published evidence regarding electronic cigarette (EC) use during pregnancy and currently no published studies that assess EC use and pregnancy outcomes.
A brief online survey of 82 smoking cessation services in England, UK explored policy and practice related to EC use in pregnancy. Exploratory work was undertaken with 30 pregnant women in one specialist smoking cessation service in the North of England, UK to explore use and attitude to ECs.
The majority of services had no EC policy for pregnant women but reported they advise women that EC use is a personal choice during pregnancy. There was substantial variation between services in the type of guidance used to support advice.
Women reported they had considered or tried using ECs since becoming pregnant; however they were uncertain about the potential advantages or disadvantages of EC use, women were unsure about the potential harms of ECs compared to smoking and unsure if pregnant women should have the choice to use ECs.
This exploratory data highlights there is uncertainty around EC use in services and pregnant women. There is a pressing need for evidence from large, well-designed research studies on the outcomes, attitudes and safety of ECs during pregnancy.
Rachel Mann has a background in nursing and completed her PhD in Health Sciences at the University of York (Thesis: Emotional Well-being in Motherhood: the validity and acceptability of case-finding questions to identify perinatal depression). Rachel is a research fellow at the University of York working on an evaluation of reablement services. Her research interests include screening strategies for maternal mental disorders and maternal health-related behaviour and outcomes related to smoking and second hand smoke exposure. She has a specific research interest in the awareness, use and safety of electronic cigarettes and smoking cessation activity in pregnancy.
Source of funding: This was unfunded exploratory work.