(February 13th, 2016)
Smoking is a very difficult habit to break. That is why many smokers resort to various alternatives to ease the transition from heavy smoking to completely quitting. Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are amongst the most valid options. Aside from providing the quitter’s body with a percentage of the nicotine it so craves, it does also satisfy their psychological addiction to the habit of holding a cigarette or sticking it in one’s mouth. E-cigarettes have successfully helped many heavy smokers overcome the addiction and go nicotine free, which has also encouraged pregnant women to replace their cigarettes with e-cigarettes to protects their fetus and ensure its safe delivery. But is it really safe?
A new study was presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Washington, D.C., that suggests e-cigarette vapors may be possibly damaging to the nervous system of an unborn child, in addition to causing memory and learning issues.
Due to the lack (or nonexistence) of regulations on the production of e-cigarettes, the negative effects of the product haven’t yet been studied or explored thoroughly. Nonetheless, many women choose to switch to e-cigarettes as a safer alternative to tobacco smoking. This might be alarming taking into consideration the findings of this new study. Researches have found that vaping products with nicotine do “influence greater gene expression” on lab mice than products with nicotine. The changes, found in the brain, were associated with mental illnesses, like schizophrenia, and activity issues.
Judith Zelikoff, the lead researcher, says “What people don’t [realize] is that even without nicotine there are many things that are given off when you heat up and vaporize these products.” E-cigarettes have been found to contain many of the same substances we find toxic in tobacco cigarettes. So it is safest for the mother and the fetus to completely refrain from both smoking and e-smoking during the course of the pregnancy, and hopefully to carry on nicotine-free after.