Although vaping has been considered a healthier alternative to smoking and has gained popularity on social media, it has recently been found to cause a wide range of problems. Studies have shown that vaping can damage DNA, trigger lung damage similar to that caused by emphysema, and explode in people's faces.
Now, adding to the list of problems associated with vaping, scientists say that it may harm fertility and pregnancy outcomes in young women. The study, published in the Journal of Endocrine Society, used a mouse model to establish whether exposure to e-cigarettes impairs fertility and health of offspring.
After being exposed to e-cigarette vapour, female mice showed a decrease in embryo implantation and a delay in the onset of pregnancy with their first litter. Female offspring exposed to e-cigarettes in utero failed to gain as much weight as the control mice at 8.5 months.
Mice were exposed to e-cigarette vapour for several months and researchers found that the fertility of the females drastically declined during that period. These effects could be even more severe in humans due to a combination of environmental, health and genetic factors, according to the researchers.
Lifelong, second-generation effects
In the past, it has been found that smoking tobacco can harm pregnant women, conception and foetuses. A 2019 study found that the flavour in e-cigarettes harmed testicular function in male rats.
Kathleen Caron, Ph.D., the corresponding author on the study, said, "We found that e-cigarette usage prior to conception significantly delayed implantation of a fertilized embryo into the uterus, thus delaying and reducing fertility (in mice)."
She continued to say, "We also discovered that e-cigarette usage throughout pregnancy changed the long-term health and metabolism of female offspring – imparting lifelong, second-generation effects on the growing foetus."
Caron added that these findings were important for changing the views on e-cigarettes – to no longer being considered a safer alternative to traditional cigarettes
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