The researchers concluded that maternal e-cigarette smoking is associated with an increased risk of developing allergic asthma in offspring. The study was conducted on mice and Australian researchers believe that e-cigarette use during pregnancy should not be considered safe.
Allergic asthma is caused by a reaction to allergens such as pollen, dust mites, and pets. The scientists exposed female mice to vapors of e-cigarettes with or without nicotine or normal room air before mating. The treatment of mice continued during pregnancy, birth and while feeding offspring. The mice were then exposed to an allergen derived from ovalbumin (the main protein found in eggs) until they developed asthma. The researchers also treated human cells with varying concentrations of e-liquid in the lab and measured mitochondrial function ( molecules that affect key processes such as respiration in cells). They found that the detrimental effects of vaping are mediated in part by impaired mitochondrial function , which affects cellular respiration and is independent of nicotine. Smoking e-cigarettes, even without nicotine, has had a negative impact on cell function.
Maternal tobacco smoking is known to be detrimental to lung health and to increase the risk and severity of allergic diseases in children. Smoking e-cigarettes is a relatively new craze, and studies show that their use is growing rapidly around the world. Vaping is considered to be a safer alternative to cigarette smoking and is increasingly seen as a tool to help quit smoking during pregnancy. However, studies on the effect of this maternal habit on children, especially on the development of allergic diseases of their respiratory tract, are lacking. This study demonstrates that the use of electronic cigarettes by mothers is associated with impaired lung function and an increased risk of developing asthma in the offspring. The authors believe that action needs to be taken to correct the general public’s false belief that all e-cigarettes are safe and effective means of smoking cessation.
Scientists are conducting further research to understand the mechanism by which e-cigarettes increase allergic inflammation and worsen asthma. Since these devices do not burn, unlike traditional tobacco cigarettes, vaping causes a reduction in the level of toxic compounds. However, it is now becoming increasingly clear that such a habit can still expose people to numerous compounds that are inherently toxic and have unwanted effects. In addition, the presence of different flavors of e-cigarettes and the use of nicotine can potentially create unwanted health effects.