Secondary qualitative analysis of electronic cigarette users’ opinions and reported experiences of vaping around children
Background and aims: There is widespread concern about youth uptake of electronic cigarettes. Regulation and education campaigns exist which aim to protect children, yet it is likely that children will be primarily influenced by the vaping/smoking behaviour of people in their immediate environment. This is the first known study exploring e-cigarette users’ reported experiences of vaping in front of children.
Methods: Following informed consent, 40 semi-structured qualitative interviews with people recruited from England who had attempted to give up smoking by vaping were conducted as part of a wider study into e-cigarette use trajectories (ECtra study). Data relating to vaping around children were extracted and thematically analysed.
Results: Two key themes relating to participants’ approaches to vaping around children were identified. Participants taking an avoidant approach attempted, sometimes unsuccessfully, to hide vaping from children to avoid normalisation and exposure to second-hand vape. Participants taking a visible approach justified vaping in front of children by comparing it to more harmful smoking. Nearly all participants were uncomfortable discussing vaping with children.
Conclusions: E-cigarette users may lack a clear narrative to draw on when discussing e-cigarettes with children and therefore hide use or avoid discussion. In contrast, it has been suggested that to mitigate the potential risk of familial vaping e-cigarette users should discuss vaping in the context of tobacco quitting to normalise smoking cessation behaviour, de-normalise youth uptake, and combat possible misperceptions of health risks. Guidance for discussing vaping with children in the context of smoking cessation could be helpful.