Controversy as pregnant woman vapes rather than smoke

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2014-05-06 13:18:36

It has not yet been clearly proved that e-cigs are harmful to an unborn child but the dangers of nicotine are clearly known so that can be a good enough reason to halt the use of e-cigs once one is pregnant. As for the harm of smoking to an unborn child, that is a no-brainer.

Sometimes, matters are not so black and white. Take the case of a woman who was captured by news crews using an electronic cigarette while she was visibly pregnant. Her story illustrates the dilemmas that come up in real life.

Her case is a difficult one to pass judgment over. She says she is a heavy smoker and is well aware of the harm that can come to her child if she smokes while she is pregnant. As a result of her consciousness, she tried several times to quit smoking but it was impossible to quit cold turkey (are such experiences rare in the smoking world?!) or via other approved means.

She desperately wanted to protect her baby but quitting was impossible so she did the next best thing; she started using an electronic cigarette in order to reduce how much harm her unborn baby was exposed to.

It is well known that nicotine use by an expectant mother can result in the birth of a child who is already addicted to nicotine. Can this woman’s action therefore be seen as “less harmful”? Her story has an added twist; she is now vaping nicotine-free electronic cigarettes so even the danger of nicotine has been eliminated.


Many were outraged that this woman could be “so careless” to the extent of using those “e-thingies” while she is pregnant. Such people should be jailed, they argued.

While it may be understandable when such strong emotions are vented to protect an unborn defenceless child, some people have come out to say that the woman should be applauded for her initiative. Rather than wallow in self-pity that she could not quit smoking, she took the lesser of the two evils and vaped. She didn’t stop there but went ahead to lower the nicotine level to nil and that has probably made a world of difference to her unborn baby.

Some doctors share this “sympathetic” view saying that cold turkey attempts to quit are so stressful to the body that they are actually detrimental to the health of a fetus. A gradual reduction of a harmful habit is therefore the best way to go about the situation, and that is what the woman did.

It is such everyday dilemmas that bring to the fore the challenges that people face. Matters are not so straight forward and there may be a benefit that can’t be apparent until a situation arises that brings out that element.

While one may not encourage pregnant women to start vaping, there are circumstances where that may be the only option that exists. It may be the lesser evil given a choice between continuing to smoke, or switching to vaping. What is your take?

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