Ask the Expert: Is it safe to vape while pregnant?
Q: "I smoke and I've just found out I'm pregnant. I know I'll struggle to give up smoking, so would it be safer to change to e-cigarettes instead?"
A: Professor Judith Zelikoff, from New York University in the United States, has just led a study into the effects on newborn babies of their pregnant mothers having smoked e-cigarettes.
She says: "The basic answer would be not to smoke anything while you're pregnant or nursing or even after the baby's born, so as not to risk the immediate and future health of your baby.
"The unborn and young child represent a sub-population who are particularly vulnerable to the effects of toxic agents, even more so than adults. Our toxicological studies performed in the laboratory examined the effects of e-cigarette vapour exposure during pregnancy, and shortly after birth, on gene expression changes in that portion of the brain responsible for problem solving, spontaneity, memory, language, initiation, judgment, impulse control, and social and sexual behaviour, as well as on later life behaviour.
"Based on our findings that demonstrated extensive gene changes in the brain and hyperactivity in the adult offspring of exposed mothers, I would say it's not safe to vape during this critical developmental time."