Pregnancy and Smoking Cessation Tips

It is important to have a good support system to help you quit smoking- look to your loved ones or friends to support and encourage you, and don't be afraid to ask for help!

Using tobacco or e-cigarettes while breastfeeding can allow harmful chemicals to pass from the mother to the infant through breast milk or secondhand smoke exposure. Mothers who use tobacco or e-cigarettes should be encouraged to quit; regardless, breastfeeding provides numerous health benefits and breast milk remains the recommended food for an infant. 

What effects can tobacco or e-cigarette exposure have on infants?

Nicotine and other harmful chemicals are found in cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, and chewing tobacco. Regardless of feeding method (breastfeeding or infant formula), maternal smoking is a risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), as well as lower respiratory illnesses (such as bronchitis and pneumonia), ear infections, and impaired lung function in infants and children.

In addition to the risks of secondhand smoke for all exposed infants, the chemicals found in tobacco, including nicotine, can be passed from a breastfeeding mother who uses tobacco to her infant through breast milk. Smoking also decreases maternal milk supply, likely through the effect of nicotine, which lowers serum prolactin levels.

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You may have heard that e-cigarettes are safer than regular cigarettes or that they can help you to quit smoking. Quitting can be hard—but if you’re pregnant, quitting all forms of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, is best for you and your baby. Learn more about resources to quit all tobacco products.

What are e-cigarettes?

Electronic cigarettes (also called electronic nicotine delivery systems or e-cigarettes) come in different sizes and shapes, including pens, mods, (i.e., these types are modified by the user) and tanks. Most e-cigarettes contain a battery, a heating device, and a cartridge to hold liquid. The liquid typically contains nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals. The battery-powered device heats the liquid in the cartridge into an aerosol that the user inhales.