Can I vape if I’m pregnant?
We've seen this asked many times on social media and forums, and it often leads to passionate and emotional debates that aren't always helpful to the person asking.
It's understandable that people are concerned and worried; what risks we take for ourselves are one thing, risking your baby's health is another and obviously not something any of us want to do. Protecting your baby from tobacco smoke is one of the best things you can do to give your child a healthy start in life.
Cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, and smoking when you are pregnant can cause serious harm to your unborn baby. Many women find being pregnant and thinking about the future of their family the ideal time to stop smoking, it gives them a new purpose and a strong reason to succeed where they might have failed before.
That is great, but what about pregnant women who are finding it difficult to stop smoking? What about women who have stopped smoking already but now vape? Should smokers switch to vaping, and should women who vape already stop vaping?
In this blog we'll be using the advice given in the The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) document “Support to quit smoking in pregnancy” as guidance, which was published in May 2019 and can be found as a PDF document here.
In the document the RCM have some very clear positions on vaping:
“E-cigarettes contain some toxins, but at far lower levels than found in tobacco smoke.”
This is a very clear statement, it's far better to be vaping rather than smoking. Even cutting down to smoking a few cigarettes while pregnant will still be exposing your unborn child to thousands of toxins and doesn't have much (if any) reduced risk. If the choice for you is between smoking or vaping, you should choose vaping.
“If a pregnant woman who has been smoking chooses to use an e-cigarette (vaping) and it helps her to quit smoking and stay smoke-free, she should be supported to do so.”
If you've successfully stopped smoking using an e-cigarette then you are doing something good for both you, your baby and your family. The RCM use the phrase “quit smoking and stay smoke-free” which is an important recognition that the e-cigarette will continue to help you stay a non-smoker after your baby is born. Some women who stop smoking while pregnant, will sadly go back to smoking after a child is born, which is not ideal for you or the baby, it's far better if you stay smoke free for the rest of your life by using an e-cigarette.
“If a woman has switched completely to vaping and is not smoking at all, she should be recorded as a non-smoker.”
This is a powerful statement, that almost brought a tear to our eyes when we read it. If you have completely switched to vaping, you are not a smoker, you are now a non-smoker and you should be treated by your midwife and doctor as a non-smoker. To all the women who are non-smokers thanks to vaping, well done! Keep it up, you are brilliant and don't let anyone tell you that you are still a smoker.
“Based on the available evidence on e-cigarette safety, there is no reason to believe that use of an e-cigarette has any adverse effect on breastfeeding.”
This is another topic that has caused worry in the past and we are very happy that the RCM have made their position very clear. From the evidence we have now, if you need to continue to use vapour products to stay smoke free while you are breast feeding, then you should continue to do so.
The Royal College of Midwives have also called for more testing for safety and how effective e-cigarettes are as a stop-smoking treatment for pregnant women. There are trials underway and at My Vape Box we welcome these wholeheartedly.
There is still work to do, the RMC wrote earlier this year that almost “70% of Heads of Midwifery have reported that they are without a stop smoking specialist midwife in their maternity team.” Hopefully that number can be reduced and e-cigarettes can help change more people's lives for the better. They are also calling for specialist stop smoking support to be available to all pregnant women on an opt out basis.
After reading some of the recent news stories we are extremely happy and relieved to see the RCM to come out with such a positive document that will no doubt bring relief to many women vapers who were unsure or feeling guilty for continuing or starting to use vapour products. It should go without saying that you should only be using standard nicotine (or nicotine free) e-liquids brought from legitimate UK vendors, and this advice does not extend to liquids containing other drugs or extracts, legal or otherwise. Although your baby will be exposed to the nicotine in the e-liquid, e-cigarettes do not contain other toxic ingredients found in cigarette smoke. While nicotine is an addictive component within cigarettes, it carries minimal risk of harm to health for you or your baby.
We hope you have found this summary useful and reassuring, please do read the full document linked above and for more information visit the RCM website . https://www.rcm.org.uk/
My Vape Box - October 2019