E-cigarettes, or vapes, have become a popular way to help smokers quit the habit. But e-cigarettes are still quite new, so there is not enough research into their long-term safety.
What are e-cigarettes?
An e-cigarettes is a device that allows you to inhale nicotine in a vapour, rather than smoke (hence the term ‘vaping’). They work by heating a liquid, which usually contains nicotine and usually some kind of flavouring. Some e-cigarettes are disposable and others are refillable.
Are e-cigarettes less harmful than normal cigarettes?
But e-cigarettes are not risk free. Although e-cigarettes are less harmful than smoking, the liquid and vapour still contain potentially harmful chemicals also found in cigarette smoke, although in much lower levels.
Are e-cigarettes safe to use in pregnancy?
Experts don't yet know enough about the safety of effects of e-cigarettes in pregnancy, so it is best to avoid using them if you can, possibly by using Nicotine Replacement therapy instead. But if using an e-cigarette helps you to stop smoking, it is much safer for you and your baby than continuing to smoke.
Is there a better way to stop smoking that using e-cigarettes?
Yes. If you need help to stop smoking in pregnancy, licensed Nicotine Replacement therapy (NRT) products (such as patches and gum) are recommended. These products have been tested and are considered safe in pregnancy.
The best thing to do is speak to a midwife, GP, a pharmacist or an NHS stop smoking service before using any of these products. If you get support to stop smoking, your chance of quitting completely is much higher than if you try and do it alone.
If you still want to use an e-cigarette, you can still get free expert help from a stop smoking adviser. Remember that these specialists are there to help you, not judge you. By getting their advice you can be sure that you're doing the best for you and your baby.
Can second-hand vapour from e-cigarettes affect my baby?
E-cigarettes don't produce smoke. So if your partner, friends or family members use them, you won't be affected in the same way as you would by second-hand smoke from cigarettes. If someone near you is using an e-cigarette, you may come in contact with a small amount of nicotine in the vapour. But experts believe that the health risk is likely to be extremely low when compared to cigarette smoke.