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Researchers warn pregnant women that vaping might lead to increased asthma risk

The warning comes after researchers claimed to have found a link between vaping and an increased risk of asthma in offspring.

Image: Shutterstock/LezinAV

RESEARCHERS AT THE European Lung Foundation are warning that use of e-cigarettes is not safe for pregnant women.

The warning comes after researchers claimed to have found a link between vaping and an increased risk of asthma in offspring.

The study was carried out in mice, but Dr Pawan Sharma, Chancellors Fellow and Research Leader in the Airways Disease Group at the University of Technology Sydney, Australia, says: “These findings highlight that e-cigarette use during pregnancy should not be considered safe.”

The study saw female mice, before mating, exposed to either e-cigarette vapour or to normal air. The mice then continued to vape during pregnancy, birth and feeding their young. The offspring were then exposed to an allergen made from ovalbumin (the major proteins found in eggs) until they developed asthma.

The results, Dr Sharma says, show that pregnant women shouldn’t use e-cigarettes.

“Our study found that maternal vaping increased the risk and severity of allergic asthma in offspring. We also found that the detrimental effects of vaping were partially mediated through impairment of mitochondrial function, which affects cellular respiration, and were independent of nicotine. This means that vaping, even without nicotine present, has a demonstrated negative impact on cell function.”

Dr Sharma says that while vaping can be seen as an alternative for pregnant women to smoking, it may have a link to an increased risk of asthma in offspring.

However, Linda Bauld, Professor of Health Policy at the University of Stirling, says that the study has little relevance to humans.

““This study identifies a higher risk of allergic asthma in mice after their pregnant mothers were exposed to e-cigarette vapour. This has limited, if any, relevance to advice we would give to pregnant women about e-cigarettes. No-one is suggesting that pregnant women who are non-smokers should vape. Instead, e-cigarettes may have a role to play in helping pregnant women who already smoke.

“This study did not compare smoking and vaping which is the key comparison if we are to reduce risk.”

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