Responsibility, normalisation and negotiations of harm: E-cigarette users opinions and experiences of vaping around children

Emma Ward (Lead Author), Lynne Dawkins, Richard Holland, Caitlin Notley

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6 Citations (Scopus)
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Background: Concern about youth uptake of vaping is widespread. Regulation and education campaigns aim to protect children from initiating use, yet it is likely that children will be primarily influenced by the behaviour of people in their immediate environment. This is the first known study exploring e-cigarette users’ views and reported experiences of vaping around children. Methods: Following informed consent, semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with 40 adults who had attempted to give up smoking by vaping. Participants were recruited from England as part of a wider study into e-cigarette use trajectories and smoking relapse (ECtra study). Data were extracted from 28 interviews where participants had spontaneously discussed vaping around children. Extracted data were analysed thematically and situated in previous analysis of vaping identity which distinguished between recreational and medicinal vapers. Results: Vaping behaviour around children was in part a habituated replication of smoking norms but also guided by broad vaping identity; recreational users were more permissive and medicinal users more secretive. Vaping in the home appeared to be determined by caregivers’ need to reconcile vaping behaviour so that it was congruent with parental identity as a responsible caregiver. Participant perspectives reflected existing moral discourses applied to e-cigarettes around the use of “harm reduction for smokers” and “potential for youth harm”. Conclusion: Vaping is likely to be role modelled within the community and home despite attempts by e-cigarette users to conceal the behaviour. The ambivalent contextualisation of e-cigarettes means that e-cigarette users may lack a clear narrative to draw on when discussing vaping with children. Public health guidance for vaping around children could be helpful, but to be most effective, should take into consideration users’ vaping identity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103016
JournalInternational Journal of Drug Policy
Early online date6 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021

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