Pregnant women should avoid e-cigarettes: Aussie researchers

Pregnant women should avoid using electronic cigarettes as there is a lack of evidence about the safety of the smoking devices, Australian researchers said on Saturday.

Many people believe that “vaping” with the e-cigarettes “was either safe or at least far safer than tobacco smoking during pregnancy, however, the lack of detailed research into the subject meant this belief could not be supported,” researcher from the Telethon Kids Institute Alexander Larcombe said in a statement from the institute.

“There is this general perception that it’s either orders of magnitude safer or completely safe to vape during pregnancy, which is completely unfounded and almost certainly not true, because women and babies are still potentially getting exposed to nicotine and other potentially harmful chemicals,” Larcombe said.

“So if a pregnant woman is thinking of switching to e-cigarettes instead of smoking, which the evidence shows a lot of them are, the outcomes may be just as bad. We just don’t know.”

Larcombe, whose views on the smoking devices were published in the leading medical journal The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, said e-cigarette usage was rising in Australia and around the world, with people aged between 18-39, including women of child-bearing age, Australia’s largest user group.

Recent research conducted by Larcombe and his colleagues also found that six out of 10 “nicotine-free” e-cigarette liquids purchased over the counter and online in Australia “contained nicotine as well as an acutely toxic chemical typically found in pesticides and disinfectants.”