Electronic Cigarettes and Pregnancy

Pregnant woman using an electric cigarette

As an expectant mom, you may be looking for ways to quit smoking. Some may wonder if electronic cigarettes (also known as e-hookah, e-pens, vape pens, or tanks) are a safe way to quit smoking during pregnancy. E-cigarettes are battery-operated cigarettes that turn chemicals, including nicotine, into a vapor, which is then inhaled.

The truth is that e-cigarettes are not regulated, and you cannot know what kinds or amounts of chemicals, such as nicotine, they contain. There are no known studies that have documented their safety, and the FDA has not approved e-cigarettes as a cessation aid.

Electronic Cigarettes and Pregnancy

In addition, nicotine is an addictive substance that is toxic to reproduction and interferes with fetal brain development. It may also adversely affect fetal lung development and increase the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). Smokeless tobacco products, such as chewing tobacco, dissolvable tobacco, snuff, and snus (a moist form of snuff) have been associated with stillbirth, preterm delivery, and infant apnea when used during pregnancy. As such, it is best to avoid using e-cigarettes or other nicotine-containing products during pregnancy.

If you are having a hard time quitting during pregnancy on your own or with counseling, you may consider nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). FDA-approved forms of NRT include nicotine gum, patches, inhalers, nasal spray, and lozenges. Cessation tablets, such as Zyban and Chantix, are not recommended during pregnancy. It is important to consult your doctor before using a NRT product to discuss the risks of using such products during pregnancy. These should only be used under the close supervision of a physician.

Another Pregnant woman using e-cigarettes while pregnant

Support Numbers to Help You Quit:

  • Contact the American Cancer Society’s Quitline for free telephone counseling to help you quit. It is easy. A counselor will call you where and when you choose. You’ll learn why it’s tough to quit and techniques to help you quit successfully. Make a difference in your health and the health of your baby. Call the Quitline today (800) 227-2345.
  • Great Start Program of the American Legacy Foundation: (866) 667-8278

Last updated: 12/2014

Compiled from the following sources:

American Cancer Society. (2014). What are the types of nicotine replacement therapy? Retrieved from http://www.cancer.org/healthy/stayawayfromtobacco/guidetoquittingsmoking/guide-to-quitting-smoking-types-of-nrt
American Cancer Society. (2013). Smokeless tobacco. Retrieved from http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/tobaccocancer/smokeless-tobacco
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). Information for health care providers and public health professionals: Preventing tobacco use during pregnancy. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/TobaccoUsePregnancy/Providers.html
National Health Service. (2013). Stop smoking in pregnancy. Retrieved from http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/smoking-pregnant.aspx#close
National Pregnancy Association. (2014). Smoking During Pregnancy. Retrieved from http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/smoking-during-pregnancy/
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Electronic cigarettes. Retrieved from http://betobaccofree.hhs.gov/about-tobacco/Electronic-Cigarettes/