Are e-cigarettes safe to use during pregnancy?
We know that:
- No amount of nicotine has been proven safe in pregnancy.
- No studies have been done on the safety of e-cigarettes in pregnant women or on whether they help pregnant women stop smoking.
- Use of other nicotine-containing products during pregnancy, such as smokeless tobacco, is associated with lower birth weight, increased stillbirth rates, and premature birth.
Liquid nicotine poisoning
Liquid nicotine for e-cigarettes is sold in small tubes that may be bright and colorful. They may have flavors, like cherry or bubble gum. All of these things may make them seem fun and appealing, especially to children. Liquid nicotine has powerful toxins and a small amount may be very harmful, even deadly. It can cause nausea (feeling sick to your stomach), vomiting, and eye irritation.
There have been many reports of people, especially children, being poisoned from coming into contact with liquid nicotine, either by accidentally drinking it or by spilling it and absorbing it through the skin. According to the CDC, e-cigarette exposure calls to poison centers increased from one per month in September 2010 to 215 per month in February 2014, and over half of those calls were regarding children ages 5 and under.
Regulation and research
E-cigarettes are not currently regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), although this may change soon.
More research is needed to better understand the effects of e-cigarettes on women during pregnancy and their children. If you’re pregnant and using e-cigarettes or thinking about using e-cigarettes, talk to your provider.
Have questions? Email us at AskUs@marchofdimes.org.