Smoking e-cigarettes during pregnancy can harm the unborn baby: Study

Smoking e-cigarettes during pregnancy can harm the unborn baby: Study

It’s not only teens and young adults who are switching to e-cigarettes thinking it to be safer than traditional smoking. It has been found that even women smokers are taking to e-cigarettes during pregnancy considering it to be safer than tobacco smoking. However, according to a recent study at the New York University, e-cigarettes are as harmful as tobacco during pregnancy.

The study revealed that vaping may affect learning, memory, coordination and behavior of the unborn child. NYU’s Professor Judith Zelikoff said, “Women may be turning to these products as an alternative because they think they’re safe. Well, they’re not.”

Professor Zelikoff compared baby mice exposed to e-cigarette fumes in the womb and shortly after birth with pups whose mothers had breathed in clean air. Both normal e-cigarettes and nicotine-free types were used. After examining the creatures’ brains, she found differences in their genes, with up to 2,630 genes more or less active in the mice that had inhaled e-cigarette gas.

Describing her results as “ground-breaking,” Zelikoff said that the safety of e-cigarettes has been under-researched and, “We have to make people more aware of the risks. The major point is that these e-cigarettes need more safety testing. The perception is that e-cigarettes are completely safe for pregnant women and vulnerable groups like infants, but we can’t say that.”

Co-researcher Dana Lauterstein said, “Most people do view e-cigarettes as a safe way to smoke. For women who are pregnant, this could be dangerous. They could be unwittingly endangering their child.”

E-cigarettes not safe as projected

E-cigarettes have found a place among today’s youth. Experts say that marketing by tobacco industry plays an important role in attracting youth to smoking. Though the manufacturers of e-cigarettes marketed it on the basis of its safety, in September 2008, the World Health Organization (WHO) asked the marketers to stop making claims that e-cigs are a “safe and effective smoking cessation aid” because there is “no scientific evidence to confirm the product’s safety and efficacy,” said a report on cnn.com.

Another positive aspect related to e-cigarette highlighted for its sale was that it helped in quitting traditional smoking. But a recent study published in the Lancet Respiratory Medicine journal said that e-cigarettes do not help in giving up smoking and that it should not be recommended with this point in mind. According to the CDC, tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of death and disease in the country, and cigarette smoking kills over 480,000 Americans each year.

Professor Adam Balen, chairman of the British Fertility Society, said, “Whilst e-cigarettes may help some people to stop smoking real cigarettes, one cannot escape the reality that various chemicals are still being inhaled that have potentially harmful effects both to health, fertility and also the non-consenting participant, the baby.”

Ill effects of smoking

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 8 percent of pregnant women in America smoke which is about half of the overall smoking rate among adults. The habit is prevalent during the first two trimesters. It also said that one in 10 women who gave birth in 2014 smoked in the three months before they got pregnant.

A report on healthday.com says that smoking causes premature birth and low birth weight infants, which increases the probability of mental and developmental problems that can stay with the person the entire life. According to experts, premature birth increases the risk for cerebral palsy, lung disease and premature death.

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