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Expecting Better

University of Iowa researchers muddy the waters when it comes to vaping while pregnant with another piece of junk science

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University of Iowa researchers presuppose that vaping while pregnant is a ‘bad thing’. Relying on limited poor studies as their reference points, they construct a flawed argument that ignores all of the positive evidence to the contrary.

“Some animal studies have shown that maternal use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) adversely affects offspring’s lung development and cognitive function,” begins the university’s research team.

The trouble begins here, as the single animal study they rely on for this proposition ran a deeply flawed methodology and didn’t even test for cognitive function. The process they embarked on began with the acceptance that there is a problem with pregnant women vaping and then they sought to prove it – regardless of the evidence.

They used data from the National Health Interview Survey “to estimate the prevalence of e-cigarette and conventional cigarette use among pregnant women and nonpregnant women”.

They managed to produce a fanciful figure: “Among pregnant women, the weighted prevalence of current e-cigarette use was 38.9%. The prevalence of current e-cigarette use was almost identical between pregnant and nonpregnant women.”

“The prevalence of current e-cigarette use was high among pregnant women who currently used conventional cigarettes. It is possible that some pregnant women perceived e-cigarettes as a safe alternative to conventional cigarettes.”

The team find their massaged figure shocking because prevalence of tobacco smoking is 14% of women who are not pregnant compared to 8% of pregnant women.

It’s almost as if they want people to believe that women become pregnant and say to themselves: “Hmm, I really fancy taking up vaping.”

Dr. Courtney Martin was not part of the ‘study’, but she was willing to contribute some nonsense to Healthline: “Many women know that cigarettes are to be avoided in pregnancy. There are risks with smoking, including fetal growth restriction, placental abruption, aberrations in fetal development, and much more. But, there are misconceptions today about e-cigarettes or ‘vaping’ being safe because they are not actually smoking.”


Dr. Sherry Ross wasn’t part of the study either, she told Healthline: “Since there are no available studies that definitively prove whether it is safe or not, it’s impossible to say that vaping is safe in pregnancy.”

Iowa’s Buyun Liu, Guifeng Xu, Shuang Rong, Donna Santillan, Mark Santillan, Linda Snetselaar, and Wei Bao probably don’t read POTV News. But, if they had, they would have noticed we’ve carried a lot of articles about vaping during pregnancy – a number sourced from Linda Bauld, a genuine expert in the field.

Rather than conducting ridiculous manipulations of data or ropey animal studies, Bauld has been examining the actual potential for vaping with pregnant smokers and believes it to offer positive outcomes.

In February, Konstantinos Farsalinos commended a piece of work that concluded: “The use of electronic cigarettes in pregnancy is not associated with low birth weight or preterm delivery. Both maternal and neonatal outcomes appear to be similar to non-smokers. To our knowledge this is the first prospective study on the relationship between electronic cigarettes use and maternal and foetal outcomes.”

The NHS offers advice to pregnant women on nicotine replacement therapy and vaping, and states: “current evidence on e-cigarettes indicates they are much less risky than smoking. If using an e-cigarette helps you to stop smoking, it is much safer for you and your baby than continuing to smoke.”



Dave Cross avatar

Dave Cross

Journalist at POTV
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Dave is a freelance writer; with articles on music, motorbikes, football, pop-science, vaping and tobacco harm reduction in Sounds, Melody Maker, UBG, AWoL, Bike, When Saturday Comes, Vape News Magazine, and syndicated across the Johnston Press group. He was published in an anthology of “Greatest Football Writing”, but still believes this was a mistake. Dave contributes sketches to comedy shows and used to co-host a radio sketch show. He’s worked with numerous vape companies to develop content for their websites.

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