Babies born to mothers vaping during pregnancy are at greater risk of developing pulmonary dysfunction, according to a murine study published in the American Journal of Physiology-Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology. Researchers also found the risk of pulmonary diseases, such as asthma, continued into adulthood.
Physiologists from from Ohio State University conducted this study in pregnant mice that were exposed to e-cigarette vapor five days a week for four hours each day. A control group of mice was exposed to filtered air. Some of the findings in the offspring of these mice include:
- significantly higher body weight at adulthood but not at birth;
- impaired pulmonary function;
- increased lung scarring and stiffness (fibrosis); and
- hypersecretion of mucus, resulting in airway narrowing.
These findings bolster the belief that vaping is not a good alternative to traditional combustible cigarettes, according to the study’s lead author, Matthew W. Gorr, PhD, a research assistant professor at OSU. “Vaping during pregnancy not only affects birth outcomes of their children, but also when their children become adults, it may give them a greater propensity to develop pulmonary disease,” Gorr said.
Approximately 8.1 million adults in the U.S. use e-cigarettes, according to a 2018 finding of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The health agency has labeled vaping a public health concern and linked the practice to an outbreak of lung injury and deaths among adults in 2020.