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The effects of prenatal cigarette and e-cigarette exposure on infant neurobehaviour : a comparison to a control group.

Froggatt, S. and Reissland, N. and Covey, J. (2020) 'The effects of prenatal cigarette and e-cigarette exposure on infant neurobehaviour : a comparison to a control group.', EClinical medicine., 28 (100602).


Background: Infant neurobehaviour provides an insight into the development of the central nervous system during infancy, with behavioural abnormalities highlighting a cause for concern. Research has demonstrated that prenatal exposure to cigarettes leads to deficits within neurobehavioural development, along with negative birth outcomes detrimental to subsequent development. With the growing use of e-cigarettes amongst pregnant women, this study explores how prenatal e-cigarette exposure compares to prenatal cigarette exposure. Methods: Eighty-three infants were involved in the study, either exposed prenatally to cigarettes or e-cigarettes or not exposed to either. Differences were assessed between these three groups for birth outcomes and scores on the Neonatal Behavioural Assessment Scale (NBAS) at one month of age. Findings: Both cigarette and e-cigarette exposed infants had a significantly greater number of abnormal reflexes (p = ¢001; p = ¢002). For both self-regulation and motor maturity, cigarette exposed infants performed significantly worse (p = ¢010; p = ¢002), with e-cigarette exposed infants having decreased motor maturity (p = ¢036) abilities and marginally decreased for self-regulation (p = ¢057). Birth outcomes, namely birthweight, gestation and head circumference, did not differ for e-cigarette exposed infants compared with infants who were not prenatally exposed to nicotine. Cigarette exposed infants had a significantly lower birthweight (p = ¢021) and reduced head circumference (p = ¢008) in comparison to non-exposed infants. Interpretation: To our knowledge, this is the first research study assessing a neurological outcome as a result of e-cigarette exposure. Findings of this have potentially important

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (
Date accepted:01 October 2020
Date deposited:05 October 2020
Date of first online publication:15 October 2020
Date first made open access:16 October 2020

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