Vaping and pregnancy

Vaping and pregnancy

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Vaping is a lot like smoking, except you inhale the vapor from an electronic cigarette. Some people think it's safer than smoking, but the reality is more complicated.

Is it safe to vape while pregnant?

In short, no. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists does not consider e-cigs to be safe substitutes for cigarettes and says they should not be used during pregnancy. The Centers for Disease Control has also issued a warning that pregnant women should not vape.

There are no studies on vaping during pregnancy, but we do know that any form of nicotine can affect a developing baby's brain and lungs. Besides nicotine, other toxic chemicals can get into your bloodstream and possibly cross the placenta into your baby's blood.

If someone in your household vapes, ask them to do it outside while you're pregnant. If your coworkers vape indoors, try to keep clear of the vapor and ask about your company's policy. (Most don't allow it inside.)

How do e-cigarettes work?

Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs, are small devices that often look like a cigarette or cigar, but can also look like pens, pocket flashlights, USB memory sticks, or other common objects.

E-cigs also go by a lot of different names:

  • Vapes
  • Vape pens
  • Cig-alikes
  • E-hookahs
  • Hookah pens
  • Mods
  • Electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS)

No matter what they're called, all work basically the same way: Each device holds a cartridge of liquid called e-liquid, e-juice, or vape juice. A heating element in the device heats up the liquid and makes a vapor you then inhale through a mouthpiece. With many devices, just puffing on the e-cig activates the release of the vapor.

Is vaping safer than smoking?

The studies are mixed. There are thousands of e-liquids out there, and they all have a different mix of chemicals. These may include nicotine (the stimulant in tobacco), natural or artificial flavors and scents, and vapor-producing chemicals like polyethylene glycol (the stuff in antifreeze). Some have fewer risky chemicals than others, but it's hard to make a safe choice. Here's why:

  • E-cigarettes aren't regulated by the FDA, so e-liquids don't have to list all their ingredients and may not be tested for quality and purity.
  • The amount of nicotine on the label might be different than what's really in the cartridge.
  • The flavorings often contain toxic chemicals such as benzaldehyde, cinnamaldehyde, and diacetyl.
  • Some liquids or vapor can be contaminated with stuff you shouldn't be inhaling, like silica and such heavy metals as nickel, tin, and lead.

Can e-cigs help me quit smoking?

That's not likely. You may have heard that some people use e-cigs to help them quit smoking, but it's just not that simple.

In a large study from the UK, researchers found that after one year:

  • E-cigarette users were more likely to quit smoking (18 percent) than those who used the patch or other nicotine replacement options (10 percent). While that sounds good at first, it means that more than 80 percent of the vaping group kept smoking.
  • Of the e-cig users who did quit, 80 percent kept vaping. That means only about 4 percent of e-cig users actually quit nicotine, which is far lower than the 10 percent who used the patch.
  • This study also confirmed what others have found – people using e-cigs to quit smoking often end up using both.

The FDA has not approved e-cigs as a way to quit smoking. Before you try them for that purpose, talk with your healthcare provider about safe ways to quit smoking during pregnancy.

Is it safe to vape while breastfeeding?

We don't know much about the effects of e-cigs on breastfeeding infants, but we do know that any secondhand smoke can be harmful to children.

Nicotine does pass into breast milk, so it's a good idea not to vape while breastfeeding, just to be on the safe side. But if you're having a hard time quitting, that doesn't mean you shouldn't breastfeed your baby – breast milk is still the best food for infants, so talk to your baby's pediatrician about it.

Also, if you have other children in the house, be sure to store any e-cigarettes or cartridges out of reach – the liquid from refill cartridges can be absorbed through the skin, and a very small amount is enough to be harmful to a child.

Does vaping affect fertility?

There aren't any good human studies on vaping and fertility. Experts suspect that vaping may be less harmful than cigarette smoke, but isn't entirely safe. No matter how it's delivered, nicotine can affect fertility. To be on the safe side, you and your partner might want to quit altogether while you're trying to conceive.

our site News & Analysis is an assessment of recent news designed to cut through the hype and get you what you need to know.

Watch the video: Nicotine use in pregnancy (May 2022).


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