Student-faculty study explores effect of popular e-cigarettes on pregnancy

A junior Public Health student recently presented a research study conducted with a BW professor on e-cigarettes at the American Public Health Association Expo.

Dr. Raed Bahelah, assistant professor of Public Health at BW, is in charge of the study involving e-cigarettes and on Nov. 6, Mallory Walsh, a junior Public Health major at BW, presented her and Bahelah’s findings.

Bahelah said he is thrilled for Walsh to be able to present at this conference. It is a large international meeting where people from all around the world come to, said Bahelah.

The study looks at the effects that e-cigarettes can have on pregnant women.

“We looked into the prevalence of years of e-cigarettes among pregnant women in the United States,” Bahelah said. “Then we looked into what factors are associated with the use of e-cigarettes among pregnant women.”

Bahelah said e-cigarettes are becoming more prevalent than regular cigarettes because they are perceived to be safer. Pair that with pregnancy being a condition that can induce stress among women, and we have regular smokers switching to e-cigarettes while they are pregnant because of the perception that they are safer and for that similar sensation, said Bahelah.

Bahelah wanted to know the prevalence of e-cigarettes among pregnant women because the topic has not been well studied.

“There are a lot of studies that have come out about e-cigarettes,” Bahelah said. “But few studies have focused on pregnant women.”

Bahelah said one of the objectives when doing a study is to submit the finding; one way to do this is to present at a national conference or something more significant, which is precisely what they did. Walsh said she got involved with the research after working in the Public Health department and doing a literature review for Bahelah. She is very passionate about public health research, so being able to collaborate with Bahelah was a great opportunity, said Walsh. Besides the experience and exposure to research,

Walsh said her most valuable takeaway from this study had been the opportunity to share her work with professionals of the field. To be able to present at the American Public Health Association Expo means a lot to Walsh.

“I want to get into advocacy research,” said Walsh, “and I think this is the first step to that future career.”

Dr. Swagata Banik, chair of the Public Health and Prevention Science department at BW, said research done at this campus is essential. He said it helps generate new knowledge, contributes to innovation, gives students hands-on experience, promotes the university’s image, and improves the academic reputation of the university. Walsh presenting at the American Public Health Expo, can spread the reputation of BW to the national and international level, said Banik.

“People who are attending Mallory’s session, they now know what BW students are able to do,” said Banik.

Banik said that for Walsh, this is an experience she can take with her for life.

Articles about research projects that are going on in the Public Health department can be found on the board in the Public health department, said Banik.