Vaping during pregnancy increases the risk of allergic asthma in offspring, according to research presented today at the European Respiratory Society International Congress.
Researchers at the University of Technology Sydney, in Australia, exposed pregnant mice to e-cigarette vapour before mating, during pregnancy and while they were feeding their young. The researchers also exposed human cells to varying concentrations of e-cigarette liquid and measured the functioning of mitochondria – the battery-like molecules that power key processes in cells such as respiration.
Dr Samantha Walker, Director of Research and Policy at Asthma UK, said:” We know that smoking, or being around other people smoking, makes asthma worse by causing permanent damage to the lungs. In the short term, it can also lead to asthma symptoms and even a potentially life-threatening asthma attack. However, little research has been done so far looking at the effects of e-cigarette vapour exposure on non-smokers with asthma.
“This is an innovative area of research, but this study was in mice and further investigation is needed to see whether the same results are also seen in humans before we can draw any solid conclusions. In the meantime, Asthma UK advises people with asthma to avoid inhaling anything into their lungs which may be harmful, as it could make their asthma worse.”
Notes to editors
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*Data sources: Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) data via NHS Digital (England), Information Services Division (ISD) Scotland and NHS Wales
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• In the UK, 5.4 million people are currently receiving treatment for asthma: 1.1 million children (1 in 11) and 4.3 million adults (1 in 12).
• Every day, the lives of three families are devastated by the death of a loved one to an asthma attack, and tragically two thirds of these deaths are preventable.
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