E-Cigarettes Help Drive Pregnancy Quit Success

Latest findings from the National Health Executive show that a record 15,000 expectant mothers quit tobacco use in the last three years, with many of them using electronic cigarettes. At the time of birth, the smoking rate for pregnant women has dropped from almost 11% in 2017 to a record low of 9.1% this year.

Three months ago, we shared the news that research published in Nature Medicine journal stated that they’d found all of the benefits of smokers switching to vaping was equally valid for pregnant women.

Historically, expectant mothers found it more difficult to quit smoking than anyone else. This was due to two main factors; firstly, the way nicotine is processed differently by the body in a pregnant woman, and that pregnant women who smoked tended to come from disadvantaged socio-economic groups.

Not only did they find that vaping offered the same health benefits as that found in regular recent switchers, but the fact that expectant mothers can vape more frequently to replace the nicotine broken down by their metabolism meant e-cigs worked better than single dose patches, sprays and gum.

The findings are very important given this week’s news that the United Kingdom has experienced a dramatic decline in the numbers of pregnant smokers. While all other group rates were declining, the figure for expectant mothers remained stubbornly fixed.

Some might question why when e-cigarettes were available to everyone at the same time?

The answer is generally accepted as being down to the level of advice women were receiving from medical practitioners, whose knowledge was lagging behind that of quit smoking experts, independent researchers, and vapers.

Slowly, that message changed.

Smoking cessation experts joined with academic specialist such as Professor Linda Bauld to look at home vaping could benefit expectant mothers. They quickly realised that the nicotine in e-liquid posed no more risk than the nicotine in traditional cessation products.

Greeting the news, Public Health Minister Maggie Throup said: “Smoking is extremely addictive and can seriously harm your baby. We’re determined to help people quit, especially those most vulnerable such as pregnant women, and it’s great to see strong progress in this area. I am very grateful to NHS maternity staff for helping mums-to-be stub out the habit and reduce the risk of life-threatening complications for women and their babies.”

The NHS now offers very clear advice about vaping to expectant mothers.

It tells women:

·Current evidence on e-cigarettes indicates they are much less risky than smoking
·By itself, nicotine is relatively harmless
·E-cigarettes do not produce tar or carbon monoxide
·If using an e-cigarette helps you to stop smoking, it is much safer for you and your baby than continuing to smoke

With health bodies putting their full support behind electronic cigarettes and vaping, it will be interesting to see the level of success in next year’s figures.