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Parents’ Vaping Could Increase Baby’s Eczema Risk, Study Says

Children with a parent who used e-cigarettes were 24 percent more likely to develop eczema than kids with two non-vaping parents.
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By Wyndi Kappes, Associate Editor
Published June 3, 2024
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Image: triocean | Shutterstock

While it’s common knowledge today that second-hand smoke is harmful, as vaping booms in popularity, there’s still much not known about its long-term effects, including those it might have on baby second-hand. New research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) however is already showing a possible link between houses where parents vape and an increased likelihood of eczema in baby.

In a study of over 35,000 U.S. households spanning from 2014-2018, Stanford researchers found that children with a parent who used e-cigarettes had 24 percent higher odds for eczema (atopic dermatitis) than kids with two non-vaping parents did. Atopic eczema is a chronic, usually hereditary inflammatory skin condition. Though somewhat common and treatable, eczema is often itchy and irritating, with American parents spending thousands of dollars on creams, ointments and other treatments for baby every year.

While Stanford researchers were quick to acknowledge that the increase was not proof of causation but rather correlation, they do believe there is science to back up the notion that exposure to the toxins emitted in e-cigarette vapor could trigger changes in children’s skin.

Prior lab studies have “demonstrated increased oxidative stress in human keratinocytes and 3-dimensional skin models exposed to e-cigarette fluids and aerosol residues,” they noted. Keratinocytes make up about 90 percent of the skin’s outer epidermal layer and scientists “hypothesize that secondhand exposure to e-cigarettes is associated with a similar response among children, elevating atopic dermatitis risk." In their conclusion, researchers advocate for increased research into the topic.

Interested in doing some research of your own? Learn about what causes baby eczema, how to treat it and what the latest studies say you can do to prevent it.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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