Pregnant smokers should be encouraged to use e-cigarettes to help them quit, new Royal College of Midwives (RCM) guidelines say.
The guidelines acknowledge that e-cigarettes are not completely safe but are far less harmful that combustible tobacco.
Tobacco smoking is associated with an increased risk of miscarriage, stillbirth and infant sudden death, according to the NHS.
Second-hand smoke is also linked to middle-ear disease and a number of respiratory conditions in children.
The new statement says:
“If a pregnant woman who has been smoking chooses to use an e-cigarette (vaping) and it helps her to quit smoking and stay smokefree, she should be supported to do so.
“If a woman has switched completely to vaping and is not smoking at all, she should be recorded as a non-smoker.
There is also ‘no reason to believe that use of an e-cigarette has any adverse effect on breastfeeding,’ the guidelines say. They also advise smokers to continue to vape if it helps them quit tobacco and stay smoke-free.
RCM chief executive, Gill Walton, said:
“We need to be doing all we can to support women and their families to stop smoking.”
The RCM’s full Support to Quit Smoking in Pregnancy Position Statement can be read here