E Cigarettes and Pregnancy: FAQs
Many people question whether it is safe to vape or use electronic cigarettes when pregnant. Others question whether or not it is a good idea to be around those who do vape. That’s why we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions when it comes to the use of vaping kits or electronic cigarettes and pregnancy.
Are Electronic Cigarettes Safe to Use while Pregnant?
Electronic cigarettes are not completely risk free, however based on current evidence, they carry a fraction of the risk of smoking. If using an electronic cigarette helps you stay smoke free, it is much safer for you and your baby than continuing to smoke. Whilst the vapour produced by electronic cigarettes contains some toxicants, these are either at much lower levels than those found in tobacco smoke or at levels not associated with serious health risk. Most importantly, electronic cigarettes do not contain carbon monoxide, which is particularly harmful to developing babies. Electronic cigarettes are still fairly new and we don’t yet have evidence on whether there are any effects of long term use. We also don’t know about any risks to unborn babies from exposure to vapour. Mothers-to-be are advised to access support to stop smoking from a stop smoking service or other trained professionals as this has been shown to be effective in helping smokers quit. If needs be, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products can also be used. NRT products are licensed medicines appropriate for use in pregnancy.
Is there Carbon Monoxide in Electronic Cigarettes?
No. Electronic cigarettes do not contain carbon monoxide (CO) or many of the other harmful chemicals found in cigarettes. If you are only using electronic cigarettes and are not exposed to other sources of CO, such as from secondhand smoke, you should still have the same low CO reading as a non-smoker.
What about the Risks from Nicotine?
The great majority of the harm from smoking comes from inhaling tobacco smoke which contains around 4,000 chemicals, a significant number of which are toxic. While it is nicotine that makes tobacco so addictive, it is relatively harmless. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is widely used to help people stop smoking and is a safe form of treatment, including during pregnancy.
Is it OK for Partners or Other Household Members to Vape around Pregnant Women?
Whether you allow partners and others to vape near you is a decision for you to make. There is currently no evidence of harm to bystanders from exposure to electronic cigarette vapour and any risks are likely to be extremely low. Household members who choose to stop smoking through the use of electronic cigarettes pose significantly less risk to those around them than if they continued to smoke. However, you could consider asking household members who do vape to not do so in the same room as you. In addition, electronic cigarettes generally produce an odour. Women in pregnancy are often more sensitive to strong smells and may find the smell of some electronic cigarette vapours unpleasant.
Can Electronic Cigarettes be used around the Baby after it is Born?
As mentioned, there is currently no evidence of harm to bystanders from exposure to electronic cigarette vapour and any risks are likely to be extremely low. If you have any concerns, you could consider not allowing vaping in confined spaces at home or in your car and use licensed nicotine replacement products instead. The most important thing is to stay smoke free and protect your baby from the harm of secondhand smoke. If allowing the use of electronic cigarettes indoors helps you to maintain a smoke free home, it is a far safer option than allowing smoking. Nicotine in electronic cigarettes poses little danger to adult users. However in order to prevent accidental poisoning of children, electronic cigarettes and liquids should be stored away safely (just as you would with household cleaning products and medicines). Additionally, electronic cigarettes should only be charged with the correct charging equipment. They should not be left charging near babies and toddlers and should at all times be placed well out of the reach of young children.
Are there any Recommended Brands of Electronic Cigarettes for use in Pregnancy?
There are currently no electronic cigarettes with a medicinal licence on the market, meaning they cannot be prescribed. Therefore, no particular brand or product can be recommended. However, specialist retailers and internet forums can provide more information about the different types of electronic cigarettes available and how best to use them. Some evidence suggests that refillable ‘tank’ devices are better at delivering nicotine to help people stop smoking compared with disposable or rechargeable ‘cigalikes’.
Can I keep Smoking a Little Bit if I’m also using an Electronic Cigarette?
No. Every cigarette causes damage both to you and your baby. The only way to prevent this damage is to stop smoking completely. Stopping smoking early in pregnancy can almost completely prevent damage to the baby and stopping at any time during pregnancy reduces the risk of damage. If using an electronic cigarette helps you to stop smoking and to stay smoke free, this will be far safer for you and your baby than continuing to smoke. Whatever method you choose to quit smoking, you will give yourself the best chance if you get free help and support from a specialist. Evidence shows that you are up to four times more likely to quit successfully with support from your local stop smoking service.
I’ve been using an Electronic Cigarette to Help me Stop Smoking – Now I’m Pregnant, Should I stop using it?
If you feel able to stop using electronic cigarettes or to switch to nicotine replacement therapy without going back to smoking, then you should try to do so. However, if you think stopping using electronic cigarettes is likely to cause you to relapse into smoking, you should continue to use your electronic cigarette. While not completely risk free, existing evidence suggests that using an electronic cigarette while you are pregnant is much safer than smoking.
Source: Smoke Free Action UK.