In August 2019 researchers from the USA published their review of the use of e-cigarettes during pregnancy. They stated that maternal smoking during pregnancy is a major public health concern as it increases the risk for low birth weight, congenital abnormalities, premature birth and stillbirth. Pregnant women and women of reproductive age are therefore turning to e-cigarettes in an effort to reduce perceived risks to their unborn child despite the fact it remains unclear whether use of e-cigarettes represents a “safer alternative” to tobacco smoking during pregnancy. There have been several recent studies which have found that nicotine inhalation via e-cigarettes may not be that safe during pregnancy and in fact there is emerging evidence that even nicotine-free e-cigarette usage may harm the developing foetus, which suggests that components of e-cigarette liquid, including flavorings, may be developmentally toxic to the unborn foetus. Further research is urgently required to answer the questions being raised about the safety of e-cigarette usage during pregnancy.
Greene RM, Pisano MM. Developmental toxicity of e-cigarette aerosols. Birth Defects Res. 2019 Aug 9. [Epub ahead of print]