Is vaping during pregnancy OK?
Answer From J. Taylor Hays, M.D.
Using electronic cigarettes (vaping) during pregnancy isn't safe.
In recent months the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported more than 1,000 cases of lung injury tied to vaping, mostly involving products that contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The Food and Drug Administration recommends that pregnant people shouldn't use any vaping product, regardless of the substance.
Most electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) contain nicotine, which permanently damages a baby's developing brain and many other organs. E-cigarettes also contain a propellant — used to create vapor — and other harmful additives that might not be safe for your baby.
It's well known that smoking cigarettes during pregnancy can harm women and their babies. But research suggests that pregnant women who vape believe that using e-cigarettes is less harmful than smoking cigarettes. Pregnant women often don't know if their e-cigarettes contain nicotine. Some also might use e-cigarettes during pregnancy because of the perception that the devices can help them quit or reduce cigarette smoking.
While use of e-cigarettes might expose a growing baby to fewer toxins compared with those from regular cigarette use, nicotine exposure of any kind is harmful to a baby.
If you're pregnant and you smoke or vape, quitting is the best way to give your baby a healthy start. Start by consulting your health care provider for advice or seek counseling.
Oct. 12, 2019
J. Taylor Hays, M.D.
See more Expert Answers
- Kapaya M, et al. Use of electronic vapor products before, during, and after pregnancy among women with a recent live birth—Oklahoma and Texas, 2015. MMWR Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2019;68:189.
- Frequently asked questions. Pregnancy FAQ170. Tobacco, alcohol, drugs, and pregnancy. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Tobacco-Alcohol-Drugs-and-Pregnancy. Accessed June 13, 2019.
- Whittington JR, et al. The use of electronic cigarettes in pregnancy: A review of the literature. Obstetrical and Gynecological Survey. 2018;73:544.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Obstetric Practice. Committee Opinion No. 721. Smoking cessation during pregnancy. 2017;130:e200.
- Initial state findings point to clinical similarities in illnesses among people who use e-cigarettes. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2019/p0906-vaping-related-illness.html. Accessed Sept. 6, 2019.
- Lung injury update: FDA warns public to stop using tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-containing vaping products and any vaping products obtained off the street. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/safety/medwatch-safety-alerts-human-medical-products/lung-injury-update-fda-warns-public-stop-using-tetrahydrocannabinol-thc-containing-vaping-products. Accessed Oct. 7, 2019.