A new study shows that women who vape are more likely to have low-birthweight babies at birth.

LOS ANGELES —  A team of researchers at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), the University of San Francisco, Texas A&M University, and academic researchers attached to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a new study in the peer-reviewed academic journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.

According to a press release from UCLA spokesperson Brad Smith, the central finding of the study is that women who use electronic cigarettes during pregnancy are at least 33 percent more likely than those who don’t use electronic cigarettes to give birth to low-birthweight infants.

“Although only a small percentage of people used e-cigarettes, we were surprised with how many used both e-cigarettes and combustible cigarettes during pregnancy,” said Annette Regan, the corresponding author for the study and an adjunct assistant professor of epidemiology at the university’s Fielding School of Public Health. She is an instructor at a nursing school in San Francisco. “We found increased rates of low birthweight for e-cigarette users, and this occurred even for those who didn’t also smoke cigarettes.”

Low-birthweight babies, those weighing less than 5.5 pounds, often require some sort of specialized medical treatment and are at much greater risk of early-life complications and long-lasting health issues, Regan and her research team note.

The research team analyzed data from 80,000 mothers from the 2016 to 2018 CDC-coordinated Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System survey, also known as PRAMS. The PRAMS survey, according to Smith, “collects information nationwide on maternal experiences before, during and shortly after pregnancy.” From that research cohort, 1.1 percent indicated having used electronic cigarettes during the final three months of the pregnancy, and nearly two-thirds of those electronic cigarette users indicated that they were regular smokers of combustible cigarettes during the said period.

“The team reported that among users of e-cigarettes, whether exclusively or in combination with regular cigarettes, the rate of low-birthweight births was 8.1 percent, compared with 6.1 percent for non-users — an increased prevalence of 33 percent.”

“These findings are important, since being born early means a baby has less time in the mother’s uterus to grow and gain weight,” Regan added. “Much of a baby’s weight is gained during the latter part of pregnancy.”

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Michael McGrady is a columnist for Vaping Post's English edition. He is a critically acclaimed journalist with awards and recognition from across the industry. He was a finalist for ECigClick's annual vape awards in 2019 and 2020, a KAC Tobacco Harm Reduction Scholarship Fellow in 2019, among other honours. He is also the host of Vaping Weekly, the Post's podcast. All articles express his own opinion and do not necessarily reflect the Editor's view.