Pregnant women's use of e-cigarettes in the UK: a cross sectional survey

Katharine Bowker, Sarah J Lewis, Lucy Phillips, Sophie Orton, Michael Ussher, Felix Naughton, Linda Bauld, Tim Coleman, Lesley Sinclair, Hayden McRobbie, Arooj Khan, Sue Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To estimate prevalence of vaping in pregnancy. Compare characteristics and attitudes between exclusive smokers and vapers, and between exclusive vapers and dual users (smoke and vape).

Design: Cross-sectional survey SETTING: Hospitals across England and Scotland POPULATION: Pregnant women attending antenatal clinics in 2017 METHODS: Women 8-24 weeks gestation completed screening questions about their smoking and vaping. Current or recent ex-smokers and/or vapers completed a full detailed survey about vaping and smoking. Main outcome measures The prevalence of vaping, characteristics and attitudes of women who vape and/or smoke.

Results: Of 3360 pregnant women who completed screening questions, 515 (15.3%, 95% CI 14.1-16.6) were exclusive smokers, 44 (1.3%, 95% CI 1.0-1.8) exclusive vapers and 118 (3.5%, 95% CI 2.9-4.2) dual users. In total 867 (25.8%) women completed the full survey; compared with smokers (n=434), vapers (n=140) were more likely to hold higher educational qualifications (OR 1.51, 95% CI 1.01-2.25). Compared with exclusive vapers (n=33), dual users (n=107) were younger (OR 0.91 95% CI 0.85-0.98) and less likely to hold high qualifications (OR 0.43, 95% CI 0.20-0.96). Compared with smokers, dual users were more likely to be planning to quit smoking (OR 2.27, 95% CI 1.24-4.18). Compared with smokers, vapers were more likely to think vaping was safer than smoking (78.6% v 36.4%).

Conclusions: One in twenty pregnant women report vaping, most also smoke. Dual users are more motivated towards stopping smoking than smokers. Where women have tried, but cannot stop smoking, clinicians could encourage them to consider vaping for smoking cessation.

Keywords: Pregnancy; e-cigarettes; prevalence; smoking; vaping.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Early online date4 Oct 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Oct 2020


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