Electronic Cigarette Use during Pregnancy: Is It Harmful?

Toxics. 2023 Mar 18;11(3):278. doi: 10.3390/toxics11030278.


Although combustible cigarette smoking rates have declined in recent years, alternative tobacco product use, particularly electronic cigarette use ("vaping"), has increased among young adults. Recent studies indicate that vaping during pregnancy is on the rise, possibly due to the perception that it is a safer alternative to combustible cigarette smoking. However, e-cigarette aerosols may contain several newer, potentially toxic compounds, including some known developmental toxicants that may adversely impact both the mother and the fetus. However, there is paucity of studies that have examined the effects of vaping during pregnancy. While the adverse perinatal outcomes of cigarette smoking during pregnancy are well established, the specific risks associated with inhaling vaping aerosols during pregnancy requires more research. In this article, we discuss the existing evidence and knowledge gaps on the risks of vaping during pregnancy. Studies that investigate vaping-associated systemic exposure and its effects (i.e., biomarker analyses) and maternal and neonatal clinical health outcomes are needed to reach more robust conclusions. We particularly emphasize the need to go beyond comparative studies with cigarettes, and advocate for research that objectively evaluates the safety of e-cigarettes and other alternative tobacco products.

Keywords: biomarkers; electronic cigarettes; perinatal health; pregnancy; vaping.

Grant support

This research was not supported by any specific grant from a funding agency. Dr. Sinkey is funded by NHLBI K23HL159331. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of any funding agency.