Smoking Doesn’t Help
It’s common knowledge these days that smoking negatively affects fertility in men and women. This has led some people to worry that vaping might affect fertility too and some media outlets have even published dramatic stories on the subject. But is there any truth to these rumours and what do we know about the effects of vaping?
Some of the headlines about vaping and fertility can be alarmist and off putting. In recent years some in the media have added to the fuel of misinformation that surrounds vaping by claiming that the ingredients in e-liquids damage sperm cells.
Thankfully this isn’t an accurate representation of what’s really happening when people vape. But to get the real answers we’ll need to look into the question in more detail and see how vaping compares to smoking and other activities when it comes to sperm and fertility.
One of the main problems when discussing how vaping affects fertility is the fact that lots of things have an impact on sperm, including nicotine. This means that smokers and anybody using nicotine replacement therapies to help them quit smoking are going to be affected by the nicotine that they are absorbing.
Research has shown that nicotine absorbed into the body has an effect on sperm. It is not clear yet if this effect on sperm decreases fertility, but researchers are saying that it is a potential risk. More research needs to be done to find out more details, but it is easy to see why people would be worried.
The only way to avoid this effect is to cut out nicotine entirely, which can be a difficult process as nicotine is an addictive substance. It is worth remembering that while the nicotine in vaping can affect sperm, it is usually less than the effect smoking has and without many of the other negative health effects associated with tobacco.As well as nicotine, the flavourings used in e-liquids have also been investigated.
One study exposed samples of sperm to different e-liquids and found that juices with the highest concentration of flavours had the biggest impact on the mobility of the sperm. But this test involved directly exposing sperm to e-liquid, not the effect that vaping has on fertility.
It is also important to remember that the flavourings used in e-liquids are the same flavourings used in food production. So, if they do have an impact on sperm then it is the same effect that many foods will have.
Smoking and vaping are not the only common activities that can affect sperm, food and alcohol can also have a negative impact, especially diets that lack important vitamins and minerals. Using mobile phones, watching television, inactivity and stress can also have a negative effect, and tight trousers and hot baths can potentially impact fertility too.
So, there are a lot of things that can affect sperm and the best way to counter these effects is to exercise and have a balanced diet.
Most vapers turn to vaping in the first place to help quit smoking. This means that comparing the effects of vaping and smoking can be the best way to judge how harmful vaping really is.
A lot of research has been done into the impact that smoking has on male fertility and it’s common knowledge that cigarettes damage sperm and fertility. Smoking has been found to reduce the number of sperm that men produce as well as decreasing the mobility of sperm which also reduces fertility.
Research has also shown that smoking can damage the DNA in sperm, further reducing fertility as well as increasing the chances of miscarriage.
Smoking can also reduce fertility in women. Studies show that smokers are around thirty percent less likely to conceive compared to non-smokers. Smokers are also more likely to develop cervical cancer and are less likely to overcome HPV infection which can develop into cancer.
Smoking during pregnancy can also lead to miscarriage, premature birth, stillbirth and illness as well as increasing the risk of cot death. Exposure to secondhand smoke during pregnancy can also lead to similar fertility problems and health risks. The sperm count of men can also be significantly reduced if their mother smoked during pregnancy.
Fertility isn’t the only thing negatively affected by smoking. Tobacco cigarettes produce thousands of harmful chemicals that are linked to cancer, heart disease and lung disease. Around half of smokers will die as a result of smoking related illness and the lifespan of the average smoker is ten years shorter than non-smokers.
About seven million people die each year as a result of smoking related health problems and roughly ten percent of those are victims of second hand smoking. So, smoking not only damages the health of the smoker there is also a high risk of harming those around them too.
Research has shown that vaping is around ninety-five percent safer than smoking. Medical organisations like Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians support these findings.
We Don’t Have All The Information
The effect that vaping has on sperm and fertility isn’t fully understood yet and more research needs to be done. At the moment we only have the results from a few, small studies. But so far the evidence suggests that nicotine might be the biggest risk factor and nicotine is something that vapers can reduce and cut out over time.
The limited research shows that vaping might have some effect on sperm, but it’s no more harmful than various foods and less harmful than smoking. And for anyone worried, the best way to improve sperm count and fertility is good diet and exercise.
Activities like using mobile phones, watching television, hot baths and a lack of sleep also affect sperm and smoking has a much more noticeable negative impact on fertility in men and women.