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Study: Pregnant women who use e-cigs over patches to quit smoking see better results

In total 6.8 percent of pregnant women succeeded in quitting thanks to electronic cigarettes compared to 4.4 percent with patches.

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two disposable e-cigarettes on a yellow background. The concept of modern smoking, vaping and nicotine. Top view
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By Tom Campbell via SWNS

Pregnant women who use e-cigs rather than nicotine patches to quit smoking see better results, scientists have found.

Vaping could be a more effective stepping stone to stop the habit which is just as safe for the baby, according to a new study.

Smoking during pregnancy has been linked to a wide range of health concerns for both mothers and babies, including miscarriages and stillbirths.

Yet around 10 percent of pregnant women in the UK smoke when pregnant and while many people try to quit with the help of nicotine patches, only a small percentage succeed.

Now scientists in the UK have found e-cigarettes could help pregnant women kick the highly addictive and unhealthy habit.

Author Professor Peter Hajek at Queen Mary University of London said: "While it is best for pregnant smokers to stop smoking without continuing to use nicotine, if this is difficult, e-cigarettes can help smokers quit and are as safe as nicotine patches.

"Many stop smoking services are already using e-cigarettes as an option for smokers generally.

"Such use can now be adopted in stop-smoking services for pregnant women as well."

A total of 1,140 pregnant smokers were randomly divided into two groups and given e-cigarettes or nicotine patches.

The number of pregnant women who managed to quit smoking was similar in both groups, the researchers found.

But some of those in the patch group who succeeded were found to have used e-cigarettes instead.

Once this was taken into account, e-cigarettes proved more effective for quitting smoking than patches.

Participants were asked to post saliva samples so the researchers could confirm they were no longer smoking, but very few did so.

In total 6.8 percent of pregnant women succeeded in quitting thanks to electronic cigarettes compared to 4.4 percent with patches.

The effects of using patches or e-cigarettes on giving birth and babies was similar for both groups, the researchers also found.

An exception was the number of babies born under weight - less than 2.5 kilos, which was higher among patch users.

This is probably because women who used e-cigarettes to try and quit, smoked less, the researchers say.

The findings were published in the journal Nature Medicine.

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