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Study: Vapes Help Pregnant Quitters

A new study from Queen Mary University of London finds that vapes help pregnant smokers quit and pose no risk of poor pregnancy outcomes

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Queen Mary University of London says that new analysis of trial data on pregnant smokers led by its researchers found that the regular use of vapes during pregnancy is not associated with adverse pregnancy events or poor pregnancy outcomes. The PREP 2 study used data collected from over 1100 pregnant smokers attending 23 hospitals in England and 1 stop-smoking service in Scotland.

Queen Mary University says the study compared pregnancy outcomes in women who did or did not use nicotine in the form of vapes or nicotine patches regularly during their pregnancy.

Researchers took measurements of salivary cotinine levels at baseline and towards the end of pregnancy, and gathered information about each participant’s use of cigarettes or types of NRT, respiratory symptoms, and the birth weight and other data of their babies at birth.

The study was conducted by researchers at Queen Mary University of London, University of New South Wales (Australia), University of Nottingham, St George’s University of London, University of Stirling, University of Edinburgh, and King’s College London, and St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

The study, published in Addiction Journal, found that vapes were more commonly used in the group studied than nicotine patches (47% compared with 21%). Women who smoked and also used one of the nicotine replacement products during their pregnancy had babies with the same birth weights as women who only smoked, while babies born to women who did not smoke during pregnancy did not differ in birth weight, whether the women did or did not use nicotine products. Regular use of nicotine products was not associated with any adverse effects in mothers or their babies.

The authors concluded: “We did not detect any major risk associated with using EC [vapes] and NRT during late pregnancyUsers of EC and users of NRT did not differ in any safety outcomes, and use of these products was not associated with any of the adverse events that we monitored.

Lead researcher, Professor Peter Hajek from the Wolfson Institute of Population Health, Queen Mary University of London, said: "The trial contributes answers to two important questions, one practical and one concerning our understanding of risks of smoking. E-cigarettes helped pregnant smokers quit without posing any detectable risks to pregnancy compared with stopping smoking without further nicotine use. Using nicotine containing aids to stop smoking in pregnancy thus appears safe. The harms to pregnancy from smoking, in late pregnancy at least, seem to be due to other chemicals in tobacco smoke rather than nicotine."

Professor Linda Bauld added: “Clinicians, pregnant women and their families have questions about the safety of using nicotine replacement therapy or e-cigarettes during pregnancy. Women who continue to smoke during pregnancy often find it difficult to stop but products like NRT or e-cigarettes can help them to do so.

“These results suggest that NRT or vaping can be used as part of a quit attempt without adverse effects. Our findings should be reassuring and provide further important evidence to guide decision-making on smoking cessation during pregnancy.”


  • Safety of e-cigarettes and nicotine patches as stop-smoking aids in pregnancy: Secondary analysis of the Pregnancy Trial of E-cigarettes and Patches (PREP) randomized controlled trial -

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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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