Pregnancy: is it safe to vape and use e-cigarettes?
The dangers of smoking while pregnant are well known. Smoking while pregnant harms the baby. Is vaping a solution for smokers who want to quit during their pregnancy? WHO experts warn vaping might pose a threat to foetuses.
E-cigarettes are less harmful than tobacco cigarettes
Tobacco cigarettes contain nicotine and up to 4 000 other toxins, whereas e-cigarettes contain water, propylene glycol, and sometimes nicotine and other hidden toxins.
There is no doubt that e-cigarettes are less harmful. Unfortunately, we cannot say that vaping is safe for women who are pregnant. We lack of studies to know exactly what is in the vapour vapers are breathing in, to know which toxins. Some chemicals might be reaching the baby.
Nicotine is harmful for the baby and you can’t trust nicotine-free e-cigarettes to be nicotine-free
Doctors need to study further the long-term safety and efficacy of nicotine in pregnancy on postnatal health. But we already know that it affects how well the baby grows.
Why is noctine dangerous for mothers who are expecting? It narrows blood vessels so the baby will get less oxygen and fewer nutrients via the placenta. Therefore there are risks for women who smoke, who vape and who use nicotine replacement therapy during their pregnancy, even the more common forms like nicotine gum.
Several studies show fetal exposure to nicotine increases long-term risk of obesity. Indeed, pregnant women who use nicotine replacement therapy have smaller babies and within six months the nicotine has affected their liver so it produces more triglyceride – a sign of obesity.
What about nictonie-free e-cigarettes?… Even tough such products are sold so, the study “Consistency of Labeled Nicotine Content in Electronic Cigarettes: Regulatory Challenges” shows labeling cannot be always trusted. Nicotine concentration may be higher than indicated and nicotine may be found in nicotine-free refill solutions. The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency found problems too. Some e-cigarette liquid and vapour contained traces of toxins, including cancer-causing chemicals nitrosamines and formaldehyde. Some e-cigarettes, labelled as containing no nicotine, had low levels of nicotine.
Vaping isn’t safe but a solution if smoking is the other alternative
There is not a lot of conclusive data on the use of electronic cigarettes and pregnancy. Here is what we know: using e-cigarettes isn’t as harmful for an unborn baby as smoking is. Even though pregnant women know it’s dangerous, many continue to smoke. In that case, vaping is a solution. It is not a safe alternative to smoking but it is safer than smoking.