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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Vaping during pregnancy: A systematic review of health outcomes
Author(s): Ussher, Michael
Fleming, J
Brose, L
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Date Deposited: 17-Jun-2024
Abstract: Introduction Smoking during pregnancy is harmful to maternal and child health. Vaping is used for smoking cessation but evidence on health effects during pregnancy is scarce. We conducted a systematic review of health outcomes of vaping during pregnancy. Methods We searched six databases for maternal/fetal/infant outcomes and vaping, including quantitative, English language, human studies of vaping during pregnancy, to November 10th, 2023. We assessed study quality with the Mixed-Methods Appraisal Tool. We focused on comparisons of exclusive-vaping with non-use of nicotine and tobacco products and with smoking. Presentation is narrative as the studies were of insufficient quality to conduct meta-analysis. Results We included 26 studies, with 765,527 women, with one randomised controlled trial (RCT) comparing vaping and nicotine replacement therapy for smoking cessation, 23 cohort studies and two case–control studies. While the RCT met 4/5 quality criteria, the quality of the cohort studies and case–control studies was poor; none adequately assessed exposure to smoking and vaping. For studies comparing exclusive-vaping with ‘non-use’, more reported no increased risk for vaping (three studies) than reported increased risk for maternal pregnancy/postpartum outcomes (one study) and for fetal and infant outcomes (20 studies no increased risk, four increased risk), except for birth-weight and neurological outcomes where two studies each observed increased and no increased risk. When the RCT compared non-users with those not smoking but vaping or using NRT, irrespective of randomisation, they reported no evidence of risk for vaping/NRT. For studies comparing exclusive-vaping and exclusive-smoking, most studies provided evidence for a comparable risk for different outcomes. One maternal biomarker study revealed a lower risk for vaping. For small-for-gestational-age/mean-birth-centile equal numbers of studies found lower risk for vaping than for smoking as found similar risk for the two groups (two each). Conclusions While more studies found no evidence of increased risk of exclusive-vaping compared with non-use and evidence of comparable risk for exclusive-vaping and exclusive-smoking, the quality of the evidence limits conclusions. Without adequate assessment of exposure to vaping and smoking, findings cannot be attributed to behaviour as many who vape will have smoked and many who vape may do so at low levels.

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