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E-Cigarette Use during Pregnancy Not Safe for Mothers and Babies

Vaping” alters fetal lung structure and impairs pregnancy outcomes

E-cigarette use during pregnancy could be harmful to the respiratory systems of both mothers and fetuses, according to a new study in the American Journal of Physiology-Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology. The study, chosen as an APSselect article for April, also strongly suggests e-cigarette use during this period could lead to “pulmonary immaturity and may predispose infants, children and even adults to lung diseases.”

Since very little is known about the adverse impact of fetal exposure to nicotine-rich e-cigarette smoke, this study examined whether the aerosols compromised lung development in mice. The results indicate e-cigarette use during pregnancy alters fetal lung structure and disrupts the Wnt signaling process, which allows proteins to send signals through a group of pathways to cells.

The results come as more than nine million people in the U.S. use e-cigarettes as an alternative to traditional tobacco smoking, a number that is expected to grow. By 2025, worldwide e-cigarette sales are expected to surpass $60 billion, outpacing traditional cigarette sales. In early 2020, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported over 2,800 hospitalizations due to e-cigarette- or vaping-associated lung injury, with more than 65 related deaths.

The study’s authors hope it will help provide a scientific, evidence-based roadmap for future regulations and public health policies on the use of e-cigarettes, especially among the most vulnerable, such as pregnant people and their offspring. Currently, CDC recommends that people who are pregnant avoid using e-cigarettes or any vaping products.

Read the full article, “In utero exposures to electronic-cigarette aerosols impair the Wnt signaling during mouse lung development,” published in the American Journal of Physiology-Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology.

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