UCLA Study: Women Who Vape While Pregnant at Risk

A study led by the University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA) has found that women who use electronic cigarettes during pregnancy are 33 percent more likely than those who don’t to give birth to low-birthweight infants, according to a press release. Low-birthweight babies — those weighing less than 5.5 pounds — often require specialized medical care and are at greater risk of early-life complications and long-lasting health issues, said Annette Regan, the study’s corresponding author and an adjunct assistant professor of epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.

Credit: Duster 112

Findings from the study, which also involved researchers from the University of San Francisco, Texas A&M University and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are published online in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.

The researchers analyzed data on approximately 80,000 mothers from the 2016­–18 Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, or PRAMS, a CDC-coordinated project that collects information nationwide on maternal experiences before, during and shortly after pregnancy. Among that cohort, 1.1 percent (800) reported having used e-cigarettes during the final three months of their pregnancy, and nearly two-thirds (533) of those e-cigarette users said they had also combustible cigarettes during that period.

“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 Regan, who also teaches at the University of San Francisco’s nursing school. “We found increased rates of low birthweight for e-cigarette users, and this occurred even for those who didn’t also smoke cigarettes.”