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Midwifery. 2019 Sep 1;79:102533. doi: 10.1016/j.midw.2019.102533. [Epub ahead of print]

Perceived threats, benefits and barriers of e-cigarette use during pregnancy. A qualitative analysis of risk perception within existing threads in online discussion forums.

Author information

1
Department of Public Health, Brandenburg University of Technology, Senftenberg, Germany; Mannheim Institute of Public Health, Social and Preventive Medicine, Medical Faculty Mannheim, Heidelberg University, Mannheim, Germany. Electronic address: laura.schilling@medma.uni-heidelberg.de.
2
Mannheim Institute of Public Health, Social and Preventive Medicine, Medical Faculty Mannheim, Heidelberg University, Mannheim, Germany.
3
Innovation & Research, Evangelical Hospital Bethel, Bielefeld, Germany.
4
Asklepios Klinik Barmbek, Hamburg, Germany.
5
Department of Public Health, Brandenburg University of Technology, Senftenberg, Germany.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Previous studies have shown that e-cigarettes are perceived as being less harmful than tobacco cigarettes by pregnant women and might be used to quit smoking during pregnancy. Our aim was to further explore and characterise perceived threats, benefits and barriers of e-cigarette use during pregnancy.

METHODS:

Our STudy on E-cigarettes and Pregnancy (STEP) was, among others, based on a netnographic approach of analysing existing threads in German-speaking online discussion forums dealing with perceived threats and benefits of e-cigarette use during pregnancy. For the analysis, we used an inductive-deductive qualitative content analysis.

FINDINGS:

Based on 25 online discussion threads containing 1552 posts, we identified perceived threats, perceived benefits and perceived barriers to e-cigarette use during pregnancy, among others, as main themes. Subthemes identified within the main theme perceived threats were severe nicotine related health risks, potential health risks of additional ingredients, relative risks and lack of knowledge and research studies. As perceived benefits, we identified possibility and facilitation of smoking cessation, harm reduction and financial benefits. Perceived barriers were lack of satisfaction and social stigma.

CONCLUSION:

Our qualitative results suggest that the perception of the health threats related to e-cigarette use during pregnancy varies according to the nicotine content and the perception of relative risks compared with tobacco cigarettes. In addition to this, risk perception is defined through further health and non-health related barriers and benefits (e.g. suitability of e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid, social stigma).

KEYWORDS:

Electronic cigarette; Health beliefs; Online forums; Pregnancy; Risk perception

PMID:
31499382
DOI:
10.1016/j.midw.2019.102533

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