E-cigarettes: The Effects on the Nation’s Youth As Well As Women’s Health

Posted January 23, 2015 by admin

E-cigarette use is a contentious topic of debate. Supporters state that they help wean smokers off traditional cigarettes. Others see their use as maintaining the smoking addiction or introducing the habit to young people. As regards to women’s health, electronic cigarettes are harmful to women and to a developing fetus.

Growth of E-cigarette users

E-cigarette use by teens is on the rise according to a study released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which surveyed over 41,000 students. Researchers report that teens are more likely to use electronic cigarettes believing they are less harmful than traditional cigarettes. Unlike traditional cigarettes, there are no common age regulations for purchase. Because electronic cigarettes are untaxed, they are cheaper to buy. More teens are using e-cigarettes while the level of traditional teenage smoking has decreased. It is not known if this is correlation or coincidence.

Most experts concur that e-cigarettes are less harmful than traditional cigarettes to women’s health. Most do still contain nicotine, however. The vapor comes from a liquid laced with the nicotine and flavorings. Use of an e-cigarette can potentially harm brain development and establish addiction patterns.

Health risks for pregnant women

Pregnant women have been counseled that abstaining from smoking is essential for proper fetal development and delivery. E-cigarettes are complicating the conversation. Obstetricians should emphasize that there are medical concerns associated with the electronic cigarette. Electronic cigarettes are less regulated than cigarettes. In fact, the federal government has yet to regulate this nicotine delivery system. Any tobacco cessation effects are unproven, and there is no evidence of safety. The vapor may contain carcinogenic substances and heavy metals. Nicotine levels vary, and the propellant has not been proven safe for inhalation. There have been reports of children being poisoned from ingesting the flavored liquid.

Should pregnant women use nicotine replacement therapy for smoking cessation?

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the U.S. Public Health Service Clinical Practice Guidelines (2008) do not support the use of any nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) in women’s health. Most NRT products have a FDA pregnant category D status showing proven risk to fetal development. Some have been suggested by providers as a last recourse when abstinence fails.