Introduction: The use of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) such as electronic cigarettes, vapour cigarettes, and vapour/hookah pens is rapidly increasing. The effectiveness of ENDS for smoking cessation and their safety, particularly amongst pregnant women, is largely unknown. Some women who use tobacco products in pregnancy, such as the one described in this case study, switch to ENDS assuming they are a safer alternative to smoking traditional cigarettes. Many obstetric providers do not screen for ENDS use and may miss an opportunity to counsel their patients about ENDS usage, side effects, or alternatives.
Case Description: Motivated by concern for her baby's health, a 28-year-old patient reduced consumption of traditional cigarettes and began using ENDS shortly after learning she was pregnant. Her obstetric team did not screen for ENDS use and was unaware that she had started using ENDS. During the postpartum period, her providers ordered a tobacco cessation consult and the tobacco treatment specialist (TTS) discovered the patient's ENDS use as well as her desire to quit.
Conclusions: In the absence of consistent screening by providers and a lack of safety data regarding ENDS use during pregnancy, women are often given little guidance in deciphering the potential risks and benefits of ENDS use. In this case, the patient turned to ENDS because she thought it was safer than smoking tobacco cigarettes and was unaware that there is limited research on ENDS safety. This case highlights the importance of updating clinical screening tools to include ENDS and the need for further research investigating the safety of ENDS use during pregnancy.