Provision of E-Cigarettes for Smoking Cessation in Pregnancy: Perceptions and Experiences of Pregnant Women from Two UK Sites

Eleanor Lutman-White, Riya Patel, Lauren Bell, Deborah Lycett, Kelly Hayward, Ruth Sampson, Janani Arulrajah, Maxine Whelan

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INTRODUCTION: Smoking in pregnancy is associated with negative health outcomes for both mothers and babies; e-cigarettes, which contain nicotine without hazardous tobacco, may offer an additional smoking cessation strategy for pregnant women. Although e-cigarettes are being increasingly offered within services, there is limited understanding about whether e-cigarettes can improve smoking cessation support for pregnant individuals. This study aimed to explore service users' experiences of using e-cigarettes as a tool for smoking cessation during pregnancy.

METHODS: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 14 women who had accepted one of two pilots and were analysed using inductive reflexive thematic analysis. The findings from each site were integrated to develop qualitative insight.

RESULTS: Participants largely had positive perceptions of the free and easy-to-use e-cigarette, preferring it to nicotine replacement therapies. The desire to have a healthy pregnancy and baby and the inclusion of non-judgemental behavioural support facilitated motivation to quit. Many participants reduced or quit tobacco use, with positive social and health implications reported. However, numerous barriers to quitting were present and intentions about long-term quitting of combustible cigarettes and e-cigarettes were mixed and uncertain.

CONCLUSIONS: Providing e-cigarettes within smoking cessation services was indicated to be a positive and effective strategy for pregnant women trying to quit tobacco. However, numerous barriers to quitting and staying quit remained, suggesting scope for further improvements to smoking cessation support for pregnant women.

Original languageEnglish
Article number472
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number4
Early online date12 Apr 2024
Publication statusPublished - 12 Apr 2024

Bibliographical note

© 2024 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (


Pilots were funded by the Local Maternity Service and local maternity and neonatal system (Pilot 1) and Coventry and Warwickshire Local Maternity and Neonatal System (Pilot 2). A service evaluation of Pilot 1 was completed on behalf of the Bath and Northeast Somerset Public Health Team. Coventry University was commissioned to evaluate Pilot 2 and worked collaboratively with Pilot 1 colleagues to bring together the two pilots into a single process evaluation.


  • pregnancy
  • e-cigarettes
  • Smoking Cessation
  • qualitative


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