Is it safe to vape? Analyzing online forums discussing e-cigarette use during pregnancy

Wigginton, Britta, Gartner, Coral and Rowlands, Ingrid J. (2017) Is it safe to vape? Analyzing online forums discussing e-cigarette use during pregnancy. Women's Health Issues, 27 1: 93-99. doi:10.1016/j.whi.2016.09.008

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Author Wigginton, Britta
Gartner, Coral
Rowlands, Ingrid J.
Title Is it safe to vape? Analyzing online forums discussing e-cigarette use during pregnancy
Journal name Women's Health Issues   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1049-3867
1878-4321
Publication date 2017-01-01
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.whi.2016.09.008
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
Volume 27
Issue 1
Start page 93
End page 99
Total pages 7
Place of publication New York, NY, United States
Publisher Elsevier
Language eng
Subject 3306 Health (social science)
2729 Obstetrics and Gynaecology
2739 Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
2913 Maternity and Midwifery
Abstract Introduction Electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use, or vaping, is increasing against a backdrop of declining smoking rates. E-cigarettes contain fewer toxicants than cigarettes, but their appearance and mode of use has the potential to satisfy the habitual aspects of smoking. To date, we know little about lay perceptions of the safety of using e-cigarettes in pregnancy. Methods We conducted a thematic discourse analysis of 13 online discussion forum threads that discussed e-cigarette use during pregnancy. We focused on the major discursive strategies that forum posters used to debate the safety of e-cigarette use during pregnancy. Results We identified three distinct ways in which forum posters debated the safety of using e-cigarettes during pregnancy: 1) quitting (nicotine) cold turkey is unsafe, 2) vaping is the lesser of two evils, and 3) vaping is not worth the risk. Conclusions Discussions about the safety of e-cigarettes drew on the premise that 1) immediate cessation of nicotine was potentially harmful and unsafe, 2) e-cigarettes were a harm reduction tool, or 3) vaping could be dangerous and should be avoided. Although these arguments are not necessarily specific to pregnancy (beside mentions of fetal-specific risks), this analysis points to the need to educate and support women about harm reduction options. Implications Health professionals should be aware that some women may be currently using or considering using e-cigarettes in an effort to quit or reduce smoking. It is important that health professionals are equipped to educate women with accurate, up-to-date, and balanced information about the risks and benefits of e-cigarette use during pregnancy.
Formatted abstract
Introduction: Electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use, or vaping, is increasing against a backdrop of declining smoking rates. E-cigarettes contain fewer toxicants than cigarettes, but their appearance and mode of use has the potential to satisfy the habitual aspects of smoking. To date, we know little about lay perceptions of the safety of using e-cigarettes in pregnancy.

Methods: We conducted a thematic discourse analysis of 13 online discussion forum threads that discussed e-cigarette use during pregnancy. We focused on the major discursive strategies that forum posters used to debate the “safety” of ecigarette use during pregnancy.

Results: We identified three distinct ways in which forum posters debated the safety of using e-cigarettes during pregnancy: 1) quitting (nicotine) cold turkey is unsafe, 2) vaping is the lesser of two evils, and 3) vaping is not worth the risk.

Conclusions: Discussions about the “safety” of e-cigarettes drew on the premise that 1) immediate cessation of nicotine was potentially harmful and unsafe, 2) e-cigarettes were a harm reduction tool, or 3) “vaping” could be dangerous and should be avoided. Although these arguments are not necessarily specific to pregnancy (beside mentions of fetalspecific risks), this analysis points to the need to educate and support women about harm reduction options.

Implications: Health professionals should be aware that some women may be currently using or considering using e-cigarettes in an effort to quit or reduce smoking. It is important health that professionals are equipped to educate women with accurate up to-date and balanced information about the risks and benefits of e-cigarette use during pregnancy.
Keyword Public, Environmental & Occupational Health
Women's Studies
Public, Environmental & Occupational Health
Women's Studies
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Grant ID 1061978
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
School of Public Health Publications
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Created: Fri, 21 Oct 2016, 23:31:00 EST by Coral Gartner on behalf of School of Public Health