Vaping in pregnancy increases a child’s risk of asthma, new research suggests.
E-cigarettes may cause the potentially life-threatening lung condition even if they do not contain nicotine, a study found.
Lead author Dr Pawan Sharma from the University of Technology Sydney, said: ‘There is a perception that vaping is a safer alternative to cigarette smoking and it is increasingly being viewed as a tool to help quit smoking during pregnancy.
‘Our study demonstrates that maternal vaping is associated with impaired lung function and an increased risk of asthma in offspring.’
Asthma affects around 5.4million people in the UK. It has no cure and can cause deadly attacks if poorly controlled.
Vaping in pregnancy increases a child’s risk of asthma, new research suggests (stock image)
HAVING A CHEST INFECTION AS A CHILD RAISES AN ADULT’S RISK OF ASTHMA BY UP TO FOUR TIMES
Having a chest infection as a child raises a person’s risk of asthma by up to four times, new research reveals.
Suffering from a lower-respiratory tract infection, such as bronchitis or pneumonia, before the age of five increases an individual’s likelihood of developing the lung condition by between two and four times, a study found.
An upper-respiratory tract infection, including a cold or tonsillitis, raises the risk by 1.5 times.
Study author Dr Evelien van Meel from the Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands, said: ‘These findings support the hypothesis that early-life respiratory tract infections may influence the development of respiratory illnesses in the longer term.
‘In particular, lower-respiratory tract infections in early life seem to have the greatest adverse effect on lung function and the risk of asthma.’
How the research was carried out
Researchers from the University of Technology Sydney exposed female mice to either e-cigarette vapour, with or without nicotine, or normal room air, before mating.
They were then subjected to this vapour during pregnancy, birth and while feeding their offspring.
The young were then exposed to the protein ovalbumin, which is found in eggs, until they developed asthma. Previous studies have linked the protein to the lung condition’s onset.
Human cells were also exposed to varying concentrations of e-cigarette liquid in the lab.
The researchers then measured the function of the cells’ mitochondria, which act as energy powerhouses.
‘E-cigarette use during pregnancy should not be considered safe’
Results reveal vaping during pregnancy increases the risk and severity of asthma in mice’s offspring.
This is even true when the e-cig vapour is free of nicotine.
Dr Sharma said: ‘Our study demonstrates that maternal vaping is associated with impaired lung function and an increased risk of asthma in offspring.
‘E-cigarette vaping is comparatively new, but emerging research suggests that its use is growing rapidly worldwide.
‘There is a perception that vaping is a safer alternative to cigarette smoking and it is increasingly being viewed as a tool to help quit smoking during pregnancy. However, studies of the safety of maternal vaping for offspring, especially the subsequent development of allergic airways disease, are lacking.
‘These findings highlight that e-cigarette use during pregnancy should not be considered safe.’