Vaping To Help Pregnant Women in 2023

The evidence about vaping has never been stronger and clearer, and this has encouraged one council to support pregnant women by giving them free e-cig starter kits. With the knowledge of how bad smoking is for the women and their children being universally accepted, research showing that vapes can play a key role in helping mothers to quit smoking and remain tobacco-free has spurred Lambeth council to take the initiative and encourage them to switch to vaping.

Private healthcare company BUPA says: “Smoking tobacco is well known to contribute to cot death and underweight babies.”

The Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group explains: “When a woman smokes during pregnancy or when she is exposed to secondhand smoke, oxygen to the baby is restricted making the babies heart work faster and exposing the baby to harmful toxins. As a result, exposure to smoke in pregnancy is responsible for an increased rate of stillbirths, miscarriages, and birth defects.”

A key statistic is that 75% of women who manage to quit smoking during pregnancy return to smoking within 12 months.

Professor Linda Bauld was frequently on the television during the Covid-19 pandemic in her role as a public health expert. The Scottish professor is also a leading advocate for smokers to switch to vaping to reduce their levels of harm exposure.

As far back as 2015, Professor Bauld was saying: “There is growing evidence of their potential promise to support smoking cessation in non-pregnant populations and both the Medicines Healthcare Regulatory Agency and the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence have made clear that these devices are less harmful than continued tobacco use.

She has been working from that point with the Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group to build on the consensus that e-cigarettes are far safer than using tobacco products.

The problem health practitioners have faced is that nicotine replacement products like gums and patches failed to work for almost all pregnant women. Also, the quit smoking drug bupropion has proved to be next to useless for these women. These facts were again confirmed by research published in Clinical and Translational Medicine journal last year.

The question is can vapes help where these products can’t?

There are two key factors to consider when it comes to pregnant women and the first is whether vaping poses a risk to the child and mother. Secondly, experts needed to know if e-cigs are effective at helping expectant mothers to quit smoking.

A research team from the University of Nottingham led a study looking at the impact of vaping on birthweight and discovered that babies from mothers who used ecigs were like babies born to non-smokers/vapers.

Another study published in Nature journal found that switching to vaping was “more effective than nicotine patches” for pregnant women. Not only did vaping help more women to quit – but it helped more of them to remain smoke-free over the vital next 12 months.

All this evidence was considered when in the Government’s last report about electronic cigarettes and encouraged Lambeth council to explore better ways of helping its community.

Pregnant women in Lambeth are now being offered free vape starter kits to help them to quit. Councillors believe that over 3,000 households will be helped by the campaign, improving their health, and saving “£2k per year per family”.

The NHS says: “If you find using an e-cigarette helpful for quitting and staying smoke-free, it’s much safer for you and your baby than continuing to smoke.”