use of electronic cigarettes during pregnancy and lactation.. convert chemicals, including nicotine, into a vapor that is then inhaled

use of electronic cigarettes during pregnancy and lactation:

It is proven and well known that smoking cigarettes during pregnancy is dangerous for both the health of the mother and the baby. But did you know that using e-cigarettes during pregnancy and breastfeeding is also dangerous? E-cigarettes, also known as e-hookahs, e-pencils, vape cigarettes, or tanks, are NOT a safe way to quit smoking during pregnancy.

While the number of people who smoke traditional cigarettes has decreased in recent years, the growing popularity of e-cigarettes threatens to undermine (weaken) this progress and puts babies at risk of exposure to harmful chemicals produced by smoking.

E - cigarettes are battery-powered cigarettes that convert chemicals, including nicotine, into a vapor that is then inhaled. Nicotine is addictive and can harm a baby's developing brain and lungs. Additionally, e-cigarettes may contain other substances that are harmful to an unborn baby, such as heavy metals, flavorings, and cancer-causing chemicals.  

Is it a good idea to use e-cigarettes or JUUL to help me quit smoking if I'm pregnant?

No. E-cigarettes and JUULs are not yet regulated or approved by the FDA as a method of smoking cessation. Both contain significant amounts of nicotine and are NOT safer. There are more effective and safer ways to quit smoking during pregnancy, including: 

Although tobacco companies advertise that e-cigarettes can help users quit traditional cigarettes, don't be fooled by advertising claims. The US Preventive Services Task Force – USPTF . recently concluded that "the current evidence" is not sufficient to recommend electronic nicotine delivery systems (e-cigarettes) for adults, including pregnant women, to quit smoking."

 - The USPTF recommends behavioral therapies, such as counseling, as the methods most likely to be successful for pregnant women who want to quit smoking.

- If you are having a hard time quitting smoking during pregnancy on your own, or with help, you can try nicotine replacement therapy. FDA-approved forms of NRT include nicotine gum, patches, inhalers, nasal sprays, and lozenges. It is important to talk to your doctor before starting NRT so that you understand the risks of using these products during pregnancy. They should only be used under the careful supervision of a doctor.

- Smoking cessation medications, such as Zyban and Chantix, are NOT recommended during pregnancy.

Is it safe to use electronic cigarettes during pregnancy?

No, the use of electronic cigarettes is NOT safe during pregnancy. Tobacco companies advertise e-cigarettes as safe alternatives to traditional cigarettes because they don't release the same chemicals as smoke from burning tobacco. However, the vapor or aerosol from the electronic cigarette still contains many other harmful substances. Also, due to a lack of regulation, the chemical compounds in e-cigarettes can vary between brands.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), substances found in e-cigarette vapor include:

  • Ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs.
  • Flavorings such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to a serious and irreversible lung disease called bronchiolitis obliterans.
  • The so-called volatile organic compounds, or gases emitted into the air, which can cause adverse health effects.
  • Cancer-causing chemicals such as nitrosamines , formaldehyde, and propylene glycol (a solvent used in antifreeze).
  • Heavy metals including nickel, tin and lead.

Vapor from e-cigarettes can also contain a significant amount of addictive nicotine. For example, each juice/liquid “pod” for JUUL brand e-cigarettes has as much nicotine as a box of 20 regular cigarettes. 

Are electronic cigarettes without nicotine safe during pregnancy? 

No. According to the CDC , even some e-cigarettes that are advertised as nicotine-free still contain it. An Australian study found that six out of 10 e-cigarette liquids advertised as "nicotine-free" did in fact contain the chemical. Some samples tested were also found to contain 2-chlorophenol, a toxic substance used in insecticides.

What are the effects of nicotine on a developing fetus and newborn baby?

Research on the effects of vaping on fetuses and newborns lags far behind the rapid growth in e-cigarette use.

Much of what we know comes from studies of nicotine in tobacco products and cigarettes, which show that nicotine is harmful and increases the risk of:  
  • Spontaneous abortion and complications during pregnancy.
  • Part premature.
  • Low birth weight.
  • Abnormalities in brain development.
  • Abnormal lung function and lower respiratory tract infections such as  bronchitis  and pneumonia.
  • Chronic ear infections .
  • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). 

Stress, smoking and new motherhood:

After the baby is born, many of the women who were successful in quitting or smoking less during pregnancy gradually resume smoking or using e-cigarettes. This could be related in part to the stress that new motherhood brings and falling back into previous behavior patterns. Prepare for these challenges and have a plan to stay smoke-free and e-cigarette-free.

Does the nicotine from e-cigarettes pass into breast milk?

Yes. Inhaled nicotine enters the mother's bloodstream through the lungs and easily passes into breast milk. Research shows that nicotine in breast milk can affect a baby's sleep patterns, thereby increasing the risk of blood sugar and thyroid problems that can make children overweight. Nicotine is also thought to decrease the milk supply of nursing mothers, possibly because it reduces levels of prolactin, the hormone that stimulates the production of breast milk.  

If I can't stop vaping or using e-cigarettes, should I still breastfeed?

Don't stop breastfeeding even if you smoke. Breast milk is good for your baby, so it's better to do it than not, even if you still smoke. 

Given the number of benefits that breastfeeding has for babies and their mothers, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend breastfeeding even if the mother continues to use electronic cigarettes.

If it's not the right time to quit, make a plan to reduce your baby's exposure to cigarette smoke: 

  • Do not smoke while you are feeding the baby. You will inhale its smoke and could get burned by the e-cigarette.
  • Don't smoke or vape around your baby. If possible, smoke outside the house. Make your home and car smoke-free to keep your baby away from secondhand smoke.  
  • After smoking e-cigarettes, change your clothes and wash your hands before holding your baby.
  • Breastfeed your baby before smoking e-cigarettes, not after. Your body will have more time to remove the nicotine from your breast milk.
  • Do not stop trying to quit smoking . Smokers usually need to try several times before they are successful.
  • Text message programs, such as SmokefreeTXT in Spanish.  This text message program offers support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You have the option of receiving support, even if you are not yet ready to quit for good.  Sign up online or send a text message to join the program now.  
  • Join the Smokefree Women Facebook page . It is made up of women who have quit or are trying to give each other advice and inspiration.