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New Report Determines that E-Cigarettes Are Not a Safe Alternative to Cigarettes for Pregnant Women

Published August 06, 2019

NEW YORK, AUGUST 6, 2019 – According to a recent study published in Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, a team of researchers in Australia have determined that the use of e-cigarettes is detrimental to an offspring’s renal development. The researchers conclude that neither tobacco cigarettes nor e-cigarettes should be used during pregnancy because of the risk they pose to the mother’s offspring.

Smoking cigarettes is a known risk factor in the development of end-stage kidney disease and nicotine is a major contributor because it accumulates in and is filtered by the kidneys. While the link between maternal smoking during pregnancy and heightened risk has been well established, the same link has not been previously established for e-cigarettes.

In part due to this lack of knowledge, e-cigarettes are increasingly used by pregnant women during their pregnancy as a safer alternative to tobacco cigarettes. From 2014 to 2016, 13% to 15% of pregnant women used some form of e-cigarette. While the dangers of maternal smoking during pregnancy are well documented, an e-cigarette link is not documented, and some obstetricians believe that e-cigarettes pose no threat to the mother’s offspring.

The newly published animal studies, however, demonstrated that continuous e‐vapor exposure during pregnancy increased markers of oxidative stress, inflammation, and fibrosis in the adult offspring, independent of nicotine. E‐cigarette use during pregnancy conferred future risk to the offspring's kidneys. Male offspring were studied because they are more susceptible to kidney damage induced by maternal smoking, while previous studies have shown that female offspring are less affected. The full study, funded by the School of Life Sciences, Faculty of Science, and Centre for Health Technology, University of Technology Sydney, can be found here.

About the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences

Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences is an international science journal published bi-monthly as themed special issues in many areas of science, though predominantly the biological sciences. Each of twenty-four annual issues presents Original Research Articles and/or commissioned Review, Commentary, and Perspective Articles. Ann NY Acad Sci is a hybrid journal available in over 80 countries, is rigorously peer-reviewed, and is ranked among the top multidisciplinary journals worldwide.

About the New York Academy of Sciences

The New York Academy of Sciences is an independent, not-for-profit organization that since 1817 has been driving innovative solutions to society's challenges by advancing scientific research, education, and policy. With more than 20,000 Members in 100 countries, the Academy is creating a global community of science for the benefit of humanity. Please visit us online at and follow us on Twitter at @NYASciences.


Robert Birchard

Content Development Specialist