VAPING AND PREGNANCY
What is Vaping?
“Vaping” is the use of a faux cigarette, also called a “vaporizer”. Instead of smoke, it gives off vapor, which comes from heating a liquid, usually with nicotine and other chemicals. They are also called e-cigs, vape pens, e-hookahs, and mods. They have become very popular, as the health risks of tobacco cigarettes is now more widely known and smoking is banned in most public areas. It has become known as a “safe” way to smoke. Unfortunately, this is not true.
Why isn’t it safe?
Vapes are nicotine-delivery tools, plus other chemicals. In pregnancy, nicotine use is unsafe, as it is a drug that affects the brain and body several ways. It is especially unsafe during pregnancy.
• Nicotine causes blood vessels to narrow. This means that your growing baby will receive fewer nutrients and less oxygen.
• Nicotine can actually harm your baby’s brain development, and slow down the growth of your baby’s lungs.
• Nicotine ingested during pregnancy by cigarettes or vaping can lead to early labor, with your baby born before full development, or even stillbirth.
• All nicotine use during pregnancy is harmful to your baby, whether it’s cigarettes, vapes, or, yes, chewing tobacco.
• Even nicotine gum and patches could be harmful. If you are pregnant and wanting to quit smoking, talk to your doctor before using any of these.
There are other chemicals used in vapes which may harm both you and your baby. • The vapor is more than just water. It’s an aerosol (fine mist) full of chemicals which are known to cause birth defects. The solutions in e-cigarettes may include chemicals such as nicotine, propylene glycol, ethylene glycol, polyethylene glycol, diacetyl, and/or glycerol; and heavy metals such as nickel, tin, and/or lead. Artificial flavorings may be added. A recent study at Virginia Commonwealth University showed that use of some artificial flavorings in vaping could cause birth defects of the oral cavity and face, such as cleft palates.
• Remember, you are inhaling this chemical mist into your lungs. Early studies suggest that the chemicals used for flavoring can irritate the lungs, and the full health effects are not yet fully known.
• Even if you are not vaping, you should avoid being next to someone who is. The vapor being exhaled by the person vaping contains teensy particles of toxins known to cause cancer. So whether you are pregnant or not, it’s a good idea to avoid breathing in this secondhand vapor.
Although many people have tried to replace smoking with vaping in hopes of ‘cutting back’ and eventually quitting, studies have shown that they continue to get the same amount of nicotine as before, and sometimes even more as they increase their use, believing it to be safe. As mentioned above, the nicotine is still there, plus other chemicals which may damage your lungs and, if pregnant, hurt your growing baby.
To learn more, visit www.women.smokefree.gov on the internet.
If you want help with quitting smoking, talk to your doctor or call a quit-smoking counselor (800-QUIT-NOW) and ask for a plan that works for you.