Vapes More Effective Than Patches for Pregnant Smokers Trying to Quit

Smoking during pregnancy can cause numerous health complications for both the mother and developing baby. Quitting smoking is one of the best things an expectant mother can do to protect her health and that of her child. But kicking the habit is extremely challenging, especially for addicted smokers. New research suggests electronic cigarettes may be more effective than traditional nicotine replacement therapies like patches for pregnant women trying to quit smoking.

Vapes Double Quit Rates Compared to Patches in Pregnant Smokers

In a recent clinical trial conducted by Queen Mary University of London and the University of Edinburgh, researchers found that twice as many pregnant women successfully quit smoking using e-cigarettes versus nicotine patches.

The trial included over 1,000 pregnant smokers who were randomly assigned to receive either nicotine replacement e-cigarettes or patches. At the end of pregnancy, 9.9% of women in the e-cigarette group had successfully quit smoking compared to just 5.4% in the patch group when only using their assigned product.

Vapes Offer Advantages in Flavor, Experience for Smokers

Researchers speculate the higher quit rates with vapes may be attributed to key advantages they offer smokers trying to kick the habit:

  • Flavors - Pregnant smokers can choose from a variety of e-liquid flavors in vapes to make the transition easier.
  • Experience - The hand-to-mouth action and inhalation more closely mimics smoking behavior.
  • Nicotine delivery - Users can control nicotine intake and tapering.

This may allow smokers to feel more satisfied and better manage cravings compared to patches or gums.

Pregnant Smokers Should Consider Vapes Under Doctor Supervision

While nicotine patches are the currently recommended option for pregnant smokers, lead researcher Dr. Nicola Lindson suggests pregnant women struggling to quit should talk to their doctor about trying vapes as an alternative.

“We know that nicotine is harmful to the developing fetus, but evidence so far shows e-cigarettes carry less risk than smoking,” Dr. Lindson said. “This could mean these devices help reduce the risk of complications.”

Under medical guidance, vaping may provide a safer, more effective path to quitting during pregnancy.

Vaping Poses Less Risk Than Smoking in Pregnancy

Smoking cigarettes during pregnancy exposes the fetus to numerous toxic chemicals and has been associated with:

  • Lower birth weight
  • Preterm delivery
  • Miscarriage
  • Stillbirth
  • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

While nicotine may impact development, vaping eliminates exposure to most of the dangerous compounds in cigarette smoke. The trial found no difference in safety outcomes between the vape and patch groups.

More Research Needed, but Results Promising

Dr. Lindson emphasized more research is still needed to better understand the long-term impacts of nicotine and vaping on fetal and childhood development. But the significantly higher quit rates show e-cigarettes have real potential for pregnant smokers.

“This suggests e-cigarettes could be a useful tool to help pregnant women quit smoking,” Lindson concluded.

With proper medical guidance, vaping may provide the most effective path for pregnant smokers to successfully quit for the health of their baby.


Quitting smoking is critical for pregnant women, but extremely challenging due to addiction. This new clinical trial provides promising evidence that electronic cigarettes can double success rates compared to traditional nicotine patches. Under doctor supervision, vaping may give pregnant smokers the best chance at kicking the habit for good. While more research is still needed, pregnant women struggling to quit should discuss trying e-cigarettes as a safer, more effective alternative to smoking.

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