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, 108 (2), 181-92

The Effects of Nicotine on Human Fetal Development


The Effects of Nicotine on Human Fetal Development

Bradley D Holbrook. Birth Defects Res C Embryo Today.


Maternal smoking during pregnancy continues to represent a major public health concern. Nicotine is extremely harmful to the developing fetus through many different mechanisms, and the harms increase with later gestational age at exposure. Pregnancies complicated by maternal nicotine use are more likely to have significant adverse outcomes. Nicotine-exposed children tend to have several health problems throughout their lives, including impaired function of the endocrine, reproductive, respiratory, cardiovascular, and neurologic systems. Poor academic performance and significant behavioral disruptions are also common, including ADHD, aggressive behaviors, and future substance abuse. To diminish the adverse effects from cigarette smoking, some women are turning to electronic cigarettes, a new trend that is increasing in popularity worldwide. They are largely perceived as being safer to use in pregnancy than traditional cigarettes, although there is not adequate evidence to support this claim. At this time, electronic cigarette use during pregnancy cannot be recommended. Birth Defects Research (Part C) 108:181-192, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Keywords: e-cigarette; fetus; nicotine; smoking; teratogen; tobacco.

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