TUESDAY, Aug. 1, 2023 (HealthDay News) – It’s well known that smoking in pregnancy can harm a developing baby’s growth.
Now, a new study suggests that using e-cigarettes may be more effective that traditional nicotine replacement therapy, such as patches, in helping pregnant women kick the habit and reduce the risk of low birthweight.
“E-cigarettes seem more effective than nicotine patches in helping pregnant women to quit smoking and because of this, they seem to also lead to better pregnancy outcomes,” said researcher Peter Hajek, director of the health and lifestyle research unit at Queen Mary University of London.
“The evidence-based advice to smokers already includes, among other options, a recommendation to switch from smoking to e-cigarettes. Such a recommendation can now be extended to smokers who are pregnant as well,” Hajek said in a university news release.
Researchers studied this in 1,140 pregnant women who were trying to stop smoking.
Half of the women received e-cigarettes. The others were given nicotine patches. Both approaches were equally safe, according to the study.
The study found that fewer women in the e-cigarette group had children with low birthweight, which can lead to poorer health later in life. Researchers said was most likely because e-cigarettes were more effective in reducing the use of conventional cigarettes.
Women later reported whether they had quit smoking.
Some women had quit by using a product they were not assigned. Mostly, women given patches stopped with the help of e-cigarettes they acquired on their own.
However, looking only at those who quit using the assigned treatment, twice as many women quit with e-cigarettes than with nicotine patches.
The researchers also considered safety outcomes, including low birthweight, baby intensive care admissions, miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth.
The research, funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research in the U.K., was published Aug. 1 in the NIHR Journals Library.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on smoking during pregnancy.
SOURCE: Queen Mary University of London, news release, Aug. 1, 2023
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