Electronic e-cigarettes contain nicotine which is a health danger for pregnant women and developing babies and can damage a developing baby’s brain and lungs. In addition, some of the flavorings used in e-cigarettes may be harmful to a developing fetus. According to the CDC "e-cigarettes and other products containing nicotine are not safe to use during pregnancy. Nicotine is a health danger for pregnant women and developing babies and can damage a developing baby’s brain and lungs". The March of Dimes says: "While some women may use e-cigarettes in pregnancy because they believe these are safer for their babies than traditional tobacco products, there is no evidence to support this belief to date."
Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) have become a booming business. The claim is they are less dangerous than smoking tobacco cigarettes. But is this true? These devices are promoted as safe, smoke-free alternatives to tobacco cigarettes and many people who once smoked tobacco swear by e-cigarettes as an effective way to kick the habit.
How are e-cigarettes different from traditional cigarettes?
Electronic cigarettes are sometimes called electronic nicotine delivery systems or e-cigarettes. They are available in different sizes and shapes, including pens, mods, and tanks. Use of an e-cigarette is called vaping since vapor is produced rather than smoke from smoking a cigarette. Whereas you would use a match to light up a regular cigarette, the battery-powered device heats the liquid in the cartridge into an aerosol that you inhale. E-cigarettes contain a battery, a heating device, and a cartridge to hold liquid. The liquid typically contains nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals.
If you are pregnant, are e-cigarettes safer than regular cigarettes?
While the claim is that the aerosol of e-cigarettes has fewer harmful substances than cigarette smoke, e-cigarettes and other products containing nicotine are not safe to use during pregnancy. Nicotine is a health danger for pregnant women and developing babies and can damage a developing baby’s brain and lungs. In addition, some of the flavorings used in e-cigarettes may be harmful to a developing fetus.
There are fewer sales restrictions on e-cigarettes and their use in public places is largely unrestricted, too, although some states are starting to restrict e-cigarette use the same way they do for regular cigarettes.
Can being around e-cigarettes (second-hand smoke) harm my pregnancy?
The vapor emitted from e-cigarettes is not as free of toxic chemicals as had once been thought. Nicotine is just one undesirable element present in e-cigarette vapors, making second- and third-hand exposure to these vapors risky to others.
Dr. Maciej Goniewicz, of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York, has been studying various aspects of e-cigarettes and presented the findings of a study of third-hand smoke exposure.
Goniewicz used several brands of e-cigarettes in various nicotine concentrations according to their package labels. Each e-cigarette was mechanically "vaped" in an exposure chamber fitted with various surfaces common to most homes and offices — floors, walls, windows, glass, metal, and wood.
Third-hand exposure occurs when someone touches a surface onto which smoke or, in this case, e-cigarette vapor settles and accumulates. Third-hand exposure to cigarettes is especially dangerous for infants and toddlers who spend a great deal of time on the floor. Smoke residue collects on plastic toys that little ones play with and put in their mouths, as well as on their playpens, strollers, and other sleep or play surfaces.
The Goniewicz study found significant amounts of nicotine on the surfaces in the exposure chamber although the amount of residue varied according to e-cigarette nicotine content. Residue build-up was most abundant on floor surfaces and glass windows.
Merely finding the nicotine-laced residue on surfaces doesn't prove there is enough nicotine in the residue to cause cancer but it does indicate the need for further study, according to the Goniewicz research team.