VCU study: Vaping while pregnant could lead to birth defects

FILE - In this July 25, 2012 file photo, a pregnant woman is examined as she waits to give birth at a public hospital in Rio de Janeiro. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A recent study from Virginia Commonwealth University found that using e-cigarettes during pregnancy could cause birth defects.

The defects would affect the baby’s oral cavity and face, according to the study.

The research findings add to scientific evidence that e-cigs do pose health risks, despite them being considered a safer alternative to traditional tobacco cigarettes.

Researchers from both the biology and biomedical engineering departments put the study together.

They are the first to investigate whether e-cigarettes could be specifically linked to birth defects, according to Amanda Dickinson, Ph.D.

The researchers stimulated human pregnancy by exposing frog embryos  to saline infused with vapor. Dickinson says frogs are similar to humans while they are embryos.

During these experiments, all frog embryos developed cleft palates in trials for specific e-liquid types.

The findings of this study do not, however, prove a connection between vaping and the development of birth defects, according to the lead researcher.

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