A co-worker of mine is pregnant, and was commenting that she was going to be visiting a friend of hers that smokes "e-cigarettes" (sometimes known as "vaping").

She was concerned that her friend might not consider it to be the same thing as "regular smoking", and therefore she might have to have a potentially awkward conversation about not "vaping" around her while she was pregnant.

I know a couple of people who are really into the whole e-cigarette thing as a "safe alternative to smoking". Some of them really believe that it is not only 100% safe, but that it generates nothing that anyone else would have cause to complain about (one person went so far as to try and convince her supervisors at work that it wouldn't be against policy for her to use it in the office).

Is there evidence are data that can be cited as sufficient cause for a pregnant woman to request that e-cigarettes not be used around her (aside from the obvious of it simply being courteous to agree to a request like that)?

  • 1
    Travelling to see her friend is very many times more risky. I understand her point from a politeness point of view. If i vaped i would only do so outside and ot's wierd that someone would do so in front of a pregnant woman. Here's some interpretation of a news story from 2011 about nicotine replacement in pregnancy - dr is try to avoid chewing nicotine gum, but gum is better than smoking. nhs.uk/news/2011/07July/Pages/…
    – DanBeale
    Feb 28, 2014 at 21:35
  • Simply, no -- it's not safe. Jan 6, 2016 at 1:56

3 Answers 3


We don't know it's safe. Hence, it's not safe.

As far as I know there is no conclusive and trustworthy research which determines whether e-cigarettes are safe or not. E-cigarettes are quite new and there is relatively few people using them. I daresay no research in the upcoming ten years will have statistically significant results, the time span is simply too short. Even if there were some research which claimed one way or another, I would disbelieve it. The only conclusion, as of right now, is that e-smoking may be dangerous.

So, what should we do? I would not hesitate to ask someone to stop e-smoking near my wife if she was pregnant, just as I would do with normal cigarettes. Moreover, I would consider it bad manners to e-smoke without permission of the person one is with.

Check your country's laws - it is possible that e-smoking is already regulated. In Poland e-smoking is banned from public transport and public places just as old-fashioned cigarettes. It is not as strictly enforced though, probably simply because we don't know if e-cigarettes are safe or not.

Still, a small amount of e-smoke won't probably hurt. Even with cigarettes we're dealing with relatively small probabilities. So don't panic if your pregnant wife has been exposed to e-smoke.

To sum up, don't take any chances. Next time, ask the person to stop.


Ideally the friend would be conscious enough that, even though e-cig smoke is claimed to be harmless, she would opt to refrain from smoking around a pregnant woman or at least ask if she minds first; of course not all people think of these things.

Given that she's visiting a friend, and assuming the friend isn't socially conscious as described above, then the simple answer is "discuss it in advance". Your coworker knows her friend smokes e-cigarettes; her friend knows (or will know, as of this conversation) that she's pregnant. If she politely makes it clear to her friend that she'd prefer the friend not smoke in her presence while she's pregnant, the friend has the choice of either agreeing to not smoke in her presence, or postpone their meeting until after the pregnancy.

Some people believe everything they read on the internet and will insist that e-cig smoke is harmless because they read it in an article on someblog.com (in my opinion, it may indeed be harmless, but will take more research to confirm or refute). If your coworker's friend is one of these unfortunate types, then the discussion gets down to brass tacks:

I would prefer that you not smoke in my presence while I'm pregnant, regardless of whether the smoke is harmful or not. This is not about whether e-cig smoke is harmful, but about me avoiding any unnecessary risks to the health of my unborn baby, proven or otherwise. I would be happy to visit you, but if you will not respect my wishes and concern for the welfare of my child, then we will need to wait until after I've had my baby to meet.

  • I wouldn't really call the research being noted above "an article on someblog.com", they're all legitimate research papers published from medical organizations, universities, etc. I have found lots legitimate research pointing to no dangerous chemicals from second-hand vapors of an e-cig. I haven't found any legitimate (read: not an article on someblog.com) research papers documenting dangerous levels of any chemicals from the second hand vapors. While I agree that the 'smoker' should respect the request to stop in your presence, The way you phrase arguments against is very demeaning.
    – Doc
    Nov 7, 2014 at 3:50

E -cig is a relatively new phenomenon. When cigarettes were introduced it was considered safe to pregnant or otherwise , it was only in the past decade or so that real statistical data and research proved how harmful it is. So we cannot assume anything and when it comes to the safety of an unborn child, every precaution should be taken and people who smoke ecigs should be polite in social or family gatherings. It is always good manners to ask a lady if she minds someone smoking, and especially if it is a pregnant lady and she has an objection, her objection should be considered as a well mannered and kind human, instead of arguing for or against ecigs. That would be common politeness.

  • Hi, and welcome. "...it was only in the past decade or so that real statistical data and research proved how harmful it is." I think sharing some of this data is precisely what the OP is asking for. Sources are always welcome on SE sites. :-) Dec 30, 2015 at 1:05

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