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Safety of Electronic Cigarette Use During Breastfeeding: Qualitative Study Using Online Forum Discussions.


ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) are an increasingly popular alternative to smoking, helping to prevent relapse in those trying to quit and with the potential to reduce harm as they are likely to be safer than standard cigarettes. Many women return to smoking in the postpartum period having stopped during pregnancy, and while this can affect their decisions about breastfeeding, little is known about women's opinions on using e-cigs during this period. OBJECTIVE:The aim of this study is to explore online forum users' current attitudes, motivations, and barriers to postpartum e-cig use, particularly as a breastfeeding mother. METHODS:Data were collected via publicly accessible (identified by Google search) online forum discussions, and a priori codes identified. All transcripts were entered into NVivo for analysis, with a template approach to thematic analysis being used to code all transcripts from which themes were derived. RESULTS:Four themes were identified: use, perceived risk, social support and evidence, with a number of subthemes identified within these. Women were using e-cigs to prevent postpartum return to smoking, but opinions on their safety were conflicting. They were concerned about possible transfer of harmful products from e-cigs via breastmilk and secondhand exposure, so they were actively seeking and sharing information on e-cigs from a variety of sources. Although some women were supportive of e-cig use, others provided harsh judgement for mothers who used them. CONCLUSIONS:E-cigs have the potential to reduce the number of women who return to smoking in the postpartum period and potentially improve breastfeeding rates, if breastfeeding mothers have access to relevant and reliable information. Health care providers should consider discussing e-cigs with mothers at risk of returning to smoking in the postpartum period.

SUBMITTER: Johnston EJ 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6709563 | BioStudies | 2019-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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