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Smoking and vaping patterns during pregnancy and the postpartum: a longitudinal UK cohort survey

Bowker, Katharine; Lewis, Sarah; Ussher, Michael; Naughton, Felix; Phillips, Lucy; Coleman, Tim; Orton, Sophie; McRobbie, Hayden; Bauld, Linda; Cooper, Sue


Michael Ussher

Felix Naughton

Professor of Primary Care

Hayden McRobbie

Linda Bauld


Introduction: There is limited information about longitudinal patterns of vaping during pregnancy and the postpartum. We describe the prevalence, frequency, and reasons for vaping throughout pregnancy and postpartum. We also describe temporal patterns in pregnant women’s vaping.

Methods: A longitudinal cohort study across England and Scotland, with questionnaires in early pregnancy (8-24 weeks gestation), late pregnancy (34-38 weeks) and 3 months postpartum. A total of 750 women, aged 16 years or over, who were either current smokers, vapers or had smoked in the 3 months before pregnancy, were recruited between June and November 2017.

Results: Vaping prevalence was 15.9% (n=119/750) in early pregnancy: 12.4% (n=93/750) were dual users and 3.5% (n=26/750) exclusive vapers. Late pregnancy vaping prevalence was 17.8% (n=68/383): 12.5% (n=48/383) were dual users and 5.2% (n=20/383) exclusive vapers. Postpartum vaping prevalence was 23.1% (n=95/411): 14.6% (n=60/411) were dual users and 8.5% (n=35/411) exclusive vapers. The most frequently reported reason to vape among all vapers was to quit smoking. A total of 316 women completed all three surveys: 2.6% (n=8/316) were exclusive vapers in early pregnancy with most remaining exclusive vapers postpartum (n=6/8, 75%). Of the 11.5% (n=35/316) dual users in early pregnancy, 31.4% (n=11/35) were exclusive smokers by the postpartum.

Conclusion: Vaping prevalence was between 15.9% and 23.1% during pregnancy and the postpartum period, and the majority were dual users. Vaping habits of exclusive vapers remains stable throughout pregnancy and the postpartum. However, the vaping habits of dual users varies, with a third exclusively smoking in the postpartum.


Bowker, K., Lewis, S., Ussher, M., Naughton, F., Phillips, L., Coleman, T., …Cooper, S. (2021). Smoking and vaping patterns during pregnancy and the postpartum: a longitudinal UK cohort survey. Addictive Behaviors, 123, Article 107050.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 12, 2021
Online Publication Date Jul 15, 2021
Publication Date Dec 1, 2021
Deposit Date Jul 21, 2021
Publicly Available Date Jul 22, 2021
Journal Addictive Behaviors
Print ISSN 0306-4603
Electronic ISSN 1873-6327
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 123
Article Number 107050
Keywords Psychiatry and Mental health; Toxicology; Clinical Psychology; Medicine (miscellaneous)
Public URL
Publisher URL


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