A recent analysis of trial data involving pregnant smokers, led by researchers from Queen Mary University of London, indicates that the consistent use of nicotine replacement products during pregnancy does not correlate with adverse pregnancy events or unfavorable outcomes.
The PREP 2 study utilized data from over 1100 pregnant smokers across 23 hospitals in England and one stop-smoking service in Scotland. The goal was to compare pregnancy outcomes between women who used nicotine, either through e-cigarettes (EC) or nicotine patches, regularly during pregnancy and those who did not. Researchers measured salivary cotinine levels at the beginning and end of pregnancy, collected information on cigarette and Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) use, noted respiratory symptoms, and gathered data on birth weight and other aspects of infants at birth.
The study revealed that e-cigarettes were more prevalent in the studied group than nicotine patches (47% compared to 21%). It also supported previous unexpected findings suggesting that EC use might reduce respiratory infections in vapers, potentially due to antibacterial effects of the main EC ingredients: aerosol, propylene glycol, and glycerine.
Interestingly, women who smoked and used nicotine replacement products during pregnancy had babies with similar birth weights as those born to women who only smoked. Moreover, the birth weights of babies born to women who did not smoke during pregnancy did not differ, regardless of their use of nicotine products. The regular use of nicotine products did not show any association with adverse effects in either mothers or their babies.