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According to a study published in Allergy.
Although marketed as healthier alternatives to cigarettes, these products still pose risks to women and their babies, Masayoshi Zaitsu, MD, PhD, professor and director, Center for Research of the Aging Workforce, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Fukuoka, Japan, and colleagues wrote.
The web-based, cross-sectional survey generated responses from 5,688 pairs of postpartum women (mean age 32 years; standard deviation [SD]4.4) and infants (mean age 0.9 years; SD 0.5) born between July 2019 and August 2021.
According to the study, 2.4% of women smoked heated tobacco products during pregnancy, including 2.3% who smoked during the first trimester and 1% who smoked during the second and third trimesters.
Also, a total of 7.8% of infants had been diagnosed with at least one of three allergic diseases, including asthma (1.2%), rhinitis/conjunctivitis (2.6%), and AD (5%).
The prevalence of these diseases tended to be higher in mothers classified as current smokers, who had smoked within 3 months before (11.2%), during (15.2%) or after pregnancy (12.9%), or during pregnancy. first (16.2%) or second and second pregnancies smoked. third trimester (14.5%), with lower rates observed in mothers who never smoked (7.3%).
Researchers observed a significant association between current vs. never-smokers of heated tobacco products and the prevalence of allergic disease in infants (prevalence ratio [PR], 1.98; 95%CI, 1.28-3.05).
This association was most pronounced in first trimester smoking (PR = 2.09; 95% CI, 1.37-3.21), and was attenuated in prepregnancy smoking (PR = 1.48; 95% CI , 1.09-2.02) and after childbirth. was born (PR = 1.66; 95% CI, 1.01-2.72).
The researchers noted a similar pattern in subgroup analyzes that excluded 163 current cigarette smokers during pregnancy and after birth, with significant associations during pregnancy (PR = 2.09; 95% CI, 1.18-3.68) and the first trimester (PR = 2.23; 95% CI, 1.27-3.92).
Further, the researchers found a 5% increase in infant allergy (PR = 1.05; 95% CI, 1.02-1.08) with every one unit increase in daily heated tobacco products of mothers who smoked during pregnancy , as well as a 122% increase in allergy prevalence (PR = 2.22; 95% CI, 1.28-3.88) with every one-unit increase on the pack-year scale from smoking heated tobacco products from 3 months before pregnancy to the birth.
Inflammatory processes and other complex biological mechanisms resulting from exposure to tobacco smoke during pregnancy increase the onset of allergies in offspring, the researchers wrote, adding that exposure to nicotine during early life impairs lung growth and also impairs lung function.
While further research into minimizing the risks of smoking heated tobacco products is necessary, the researchers continued, there is a link between smoking during pregnancy and allergic disease in infants, and pregnant women should quit.