Perceptions of Electronic Cigarettes Among Medicaid-Eligible Pregnant and Postpartum Women

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Abstract

Objective:

To describe perceptions and beliefs about electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use during pregnancy among pregnant and newly postpartum women.

Design:

An exploratory, qualitative descriptive study.

Setting:

University-affiliated prenatal clinics.

Participants:

Twelve pregnant or recently postpartum women who reported use of tobacco and electronic cigarettes.

Methods:

Semistructured focus groups were audio recorded and professionally transcribed. The transcripts were coded to consensus and analyzed with MAXQDA software (version 11) using content analysis.

Results:

Four overarching themes emerged: (a) Attraction to E-Cigarettes as a Harm Reduction Strategy, (b) Uncertainty Regarding the Health Effects of E-Cigarettes; (c) Ambivalence Regarding Novel Product Characteristics; and (d) Behaviors Reflected Dual Use and Often Complete Relapse to Traditional Cigarettes.

Conclusion:

Pregnant women are initially attracted to e-cigarettes as a harm reduction strategy, but they often return to traditional cigarettes in the postpartum period. Nurses should counsel pregnant women on the adverse effects of fetal exposure to nicotine. Evidence-based nursing interventions are needed to prevent relapse during the postpartum period.

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