Smoking e-cigarettes during pregnancy may be just as harmful to unborn babies as tobacco cigarettes, according to research.
The study was presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Washington DC last month.
The authors say their findings show that e-cigarette vapors can damage an unborn child’s nervous system and that smoking them can result in poor learning and memory.
The researchers conducted a study on mice to examine pre- and post-natal exposure to e-cigarette vapors and aerosols with and without nicotine.
Mice exposed to low levels of e-cigarette vapour over the course of their pregnancy and during the first few weeks in the lives of their offspring, found significant differences in brain activity, sperm counts and behaviour of their progeny compared to unexposed mice.
Professor Judith Zelikoff, of NYU Langone Medical Center, said: ‘Our studies also show that exposure to vapour from electronic cigarettes, in utero and postnatally, drastically reduces sperm counts and sperm mobility in juvenile offspring and brings about gene changes in the brain as well as altered behaviour in adult male and female offspring.
‘This is groundbreaking research. What it shows is that there is certainly some concern over the safety of e-cigarettes.’