Physicians should educate pregnant patients about the harmful effects of smoking to themselves and the developing fetus, and help these patients develop a plan for smoking cessation. The safety of nicotine replacement products in pregnancy has not been adequately studied. However, smoking is likely to be more harmful than nicotine replacement therapy, particularly because cigarette smoke contains more than 3,000 different chemicals that can potentially harm humans, and one of the main components of cigarette smoke is carbon monoxide, a known fetal toxin. Therefore, it is reasonable to consider the use of nicotine replacement products in patients who cannot maintain smoking abstinence without pharmacologic intervention.
Professor Keertan Dheda has received several prestigious awards including the 2014 Oppenheimer Award, and has published over 160 peer-reviewed papers and holds 3 patents related to new TB diagnostic or infection control technologies. He serves on the editorial board of the journals PLoS One, the International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Medicine, Lancet Respiratory Diseases and Nature Scientific Reports, amongst others. Read his full biography at the University of Cape Town Lung Institute.