Researchers at the Department of Drug Design and Pharmacology of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, say that tobacco smokers who become pregnant cannot protect their fetuses sufficiently by undertaking a quit-tobacco-smoking course, according to a story by Stephen Gadd for The Copenhagen Post.
“When a pregnant woman uses nicotine chewing-gum or any other form of nicotine substitute in connection with stopping smoking, she risks damaging her fetus as much as if she’d continued to smoke,” associate professor and brain researcher Jesper Tobias Andreasen, was said to have told BT tabloid.
The negative effects were said to be caused by nicotine’s reducing the flow of blood through the placenta leading to the fetus not receiving enough oxygen to the brain. This could cause conditions such as ADHD, anxiety, depression and addictive tendencies later in life.
Andreasen points out that a ‘stop smoking’ course is all very well but the only safe way to do it is to go ‘cold turkey’ – without any form of nicotine substitutes.
Vaping was said also to present a risk to the fetus because the levels of nicotine in the liquids used contained ‘very variable amounts and often more than normal cigarettes’.
Up to now, the Copenhagen research has been carried out on mice. But Andreasen said that it was known “from extensive studies that people who have been exposed to nicotine in the womb show a higher propensity to ADHD, anxiety, depression and drug abuse”.
The researchers say they intend to publish their findings in a scientific journal within the next couple of months.