The World of Pregnancy

Electronic Cigarettes During Pregnancy & Breastfeeding: Are Vapor Pens Bad For You?

Electronic cigarette, also known as a vapor pen, is an alternative to classic smoking that has become more and more popular in the last few years, a lot of people considering it healthier. But what is the real truth? How dangerous is an electronic cigarette during pregnancy or breastfeeding, and what advice we get from doctors?

Electronic Cigarettes During Pregnancy

Electronic Cigarette during Pregnancy

If you just found out you are pregnant and you used to smoke, you most definitely may consider smoking cessation. Some pregnant women ask themselves if an vapor pen really represents a sure method to quit smoking. It`s certainly better than the classic way of smoking, mainly because it doesn`t burn, but also because it transmits a much lower amount of toxic substances to the baby. Not to say that there`s no risk of accidentally burning the baby from any ash, matches or briquettes.

The device operates on batteries which convert chemicals (even nicotine) into steam which is then inhaled. The actual truth is that such a cigarette doesn`t really have a particular legislative framework or safety studies that were documented by FDA. Also, we don`t really know the amount of chemical substances contained and inhaled with each and every smoke. However, there are studies made on animals which indicate the presence of toxins in the removed vapors, so the electronic cigarette`s use in public space is still forbidden.

The composition of a vapor pen is rather simple: water, propylene gycol (which is often used in food or in medicine) and a mixture of nicotine, all included in a cartridge. While it`s extracted from the cigarette, the liquid is introduced into a chamber where it`s heated and then transformed into a steam which you inhale. A certain amount of nicotine will reach straight into your lungs, which then is quite easily absorbed into the bloodstream. There are products that are disposable, while other ones have a rechargeable battery or cartridge.

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Nicotine is an addictive substance which is quite toxic when it comes to reproduction and has quite a high impact on the fetal brain development (FDA classifies nicotine as a substance in the D category, meaning that it`s toxic). It may also affect the baby`s lungs and increase the risk of sudden death syndrome. Non-smokable tobacco items, like tobacco or dissolving tobacco, have been associated with the birth of a child that is already dead, but also infantile apnea or premature birth. However, it`s true that due to the fact that cigarettes contain a lot of harmful compounds, they might also be responsible for these issues and not necessarily only nicotine. Thus, smoking cessation should include nicotine replacement therapy, like gums, inhalers, patches, pills or any other means which are approved by the authorities. However, it`s vital to have your doctor`s approval before using any of these options.

What Do Breastfeeding Women Need to Know About Vapor Pens?

Although there`s little known about this particular product, using a vapor pen during breastfeeding isn`t recommended. However, it should be outlined that you should continue breastfeeding, not stop due to the usage of this item. It you cannot give it up, it`s advisable to use an electronic cigarette after feeding him, not before. This way, the milk will be less affected by the toxic substances from the cigarette. Also, use it outside the house and wash the hands or teeth before touching your child.

The Expert`s Advice

What`s the Doctor`s Opinion Regarding Vapor Pens?

If you are a smoker and you choose to turn to a vapor pen during pregnancy, you might not be such a good idea. Even if you may think it`s a safe choice, you should know that it contains some compounds that may affect your future child.

Is It Dangerous for the Future Child? And if Yes, in What Way?

Surely, it`s already common knowledge that smoking is harmful. Anyone should know that smoking while pregnant may influence the development of the future child. There are plenty of studies that certify this, so pregnant women will now have a different reason to quit cigarettes. The new research refer to the impact of cigarettes on the methylation of DNA of the future baby, so scientists have analyzed their data on pregnant women and their future babies, the conclusion being more than clear.

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Also, researchers also identified around 6.000 locations where the DNA of children in pregnant women who smoke was methylated in a different manner compared with the DNA of women who didn`t smoked. The impact of this habit on the baby has been evidenced since long ago by similar symptoms seen in both the adult smoker and a newborn.

What Advice do Experts Have for Pregnant Women Regarding This?

It`s better to prevent than treat, so it`s better to give up both active or passive smoking. Women who choose to quit smoking before becoming pregnant will have the opportunity of improving the health of their future children in a direct manner.

To Remember!

In conclusion, nicotine is quite harmful for anyone at any time during their life, and the exposure of a fetus or newborn to tobacco before or after birth should be avoided at all costs. If you are already breastfeeding your baby, you shouldn`t stop, as the benefit of breastfeeding outweighs that of the risk of smoking. However, you should try to quit smoking (you also have the opportunity of nicotine replacement therapy) or don`t smoke near your child.

Because the liquid used by electronic cigarettes sometimes has an appealing flavor (gum or sugar wool), they may seem attractive for children. The cases of visits to the emergency room as a result of accidental poisoning following ingestion are increasing quite a lot. One single teaspoon of liquid nicotine may be fatal, and it`s the same with nicotine chewing gum or cigarette butt). – Read more!

FDA, has identified a few problems regarding the labeling and quality of these cigarettes as follows:

  • Some of these liquids or vapors contain toxins, which include cancer-causing chemical substances known as formaldehyde and nitrosamines.
  • Some electronic cigarettes which have been labeled as not containing nicotine, in fact contain this substance in a very small amount, so you might inhale the compound without knowing.
  • There`s a variation in the amount of nicotine eliminated, so you may inhale more than you may think.

Even though the only toxin from a vapor pen is nicotine, there may be a risk for this to affect your baby. Nicotine may cause a narrowing of blood vessels when adult smokers are concerned. Hypothetically, this substance in breast milk might have the very same effect on children as in adult smokers, although the amount of nicotine which passes though the milk is lower than the one we are exposed to when smoking. However, there are other issues that cause them: it decreases the level of prolactin, so the milk reserve may be affected.

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If you want to quit smoking, electronic cigarettes are considered to be safer than traditional ones. It`s good to discuss the choices you`ve with the health care specialist. Remember that a child who is a smoking passively and isn`t exposed to nicotine exhibits all the withdrawal symptoms known among adults: irritability, agitation, restlessness or depression.

Image courtesy of ejuiceologist.com
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