The curious link between smoking, vaping, and fertility
Does Nicotine Affect Sperm?
The warning came first from the Daily Mail... “Toxic chemicals found in the flavourings of e-cigarettes makes sperm swim slower and damages cells in the testes”…
Then The Sun reported “E-cigarettes slow sperm and kill off cells in a man’s balls”...
Ok. But cell phones can affect sperm too, along with countless other everyday things. And what about smoking? Even second-hand smoking is harmful to fertility too.
This newest study saw sperm samples taken from 30 men, and tested with concentrations of vape e-liquid amounts typical of casual or habitual vaping. Sperm exposed to the highest concentration of flavourings was slower.
The biggest impact allegedly came from the cinnamon and bubblegum e-liquid flavours used in vaping mods.
Does Smoking Cigarettes Affect Sperm?
Does smoking affect sperm count? There's not a lot of decent data about any aspect of vaping but there are almost as many studies on smoking and its effects as there are smokers. So it’s pretty well documented that smoking damages people. But smoking doesn’t just affect a smoker’s sperm, it can affect a partner’s fertility, and that of their children too.
And just take a look at some of these common spermy-related findings in men who smoke:
- A decrease in the concentration of sperm.
- A general decrease in sperm motility - if sperm cannot swim properly, there may be problems reaching the egg and fertilising it.
- Funny lookers – smokers produce oddly shaped sperm that could have trouble swimming.
- Some research has shown that smoking damages the sperm’s DNA leading to potential fertilisation problems and higher miscarriage rates.
- Male smokers may also have unusual hormone levels, which can affect fertility.
But Thanks to our Modern Lifestyles There’s Loads of Other Things That Can Affect Sperm Too…
...stress, lack of sleep, alcohol, weight, diet (particularly deficiencies of A, C, D, E and B12 vitamins, selenium, folic acid, and omega-3 fatty acids) watching TV and generally sitting around, electromagnetic frequencies and electromagnetic waves at radio frequencies (that means cell phones, laptops), very hot baths and possibly tight pants...
…yes, all have been reported as having a negative effect on sperm, and most of which are just part of daily life for many people.
Now, Think About Zinc...
In 2010 a study in China found that smokers with normal levels of zinc in their semen showed no abnormalities, whereas those with low levels of zinc showed reduced semen density.
So these results tend to suggest that sperm health is a product of general good health. The solution then is to perhaps break out a zinc-rich oyster. They’re an aphrodisiac too.
But What About Just Nicotine?
Given that a major difference between smoking and vaping e-liquid flavour concentrates is the harmful smoke, what happens if you remove the smoke?
The University of Buffalo conducted tests that included the effects of nicotine alone on sperm. Results showed that nicotine reduced the strength of the binding of the sperm to the zona (the cap covering the egg), therefore reducing the chances of fertilisation. If you want to reduce the amount of nicotine in your e-liquid you can try a lower blend or even blend one yourself using our E Juice Calculator.
Second-Hand Smoke and Vaping, Semen and Fertility
Women undergoing IVF treatment who were exposed to second-hand smoke showed similar fertility problems as those who smoked. Those who were exposed to second-hand smoke also had lower rates of implantation than those that didn’t.
Men who were exposed in utero had a 48% lower sperm density in one test than those who hadn’t. But this was only the case where the mothers smoked 10 or more cigarettes a day – there was no considerable difference for those whose mothers had smoked less than ten a day.
Last year research presented to the American Association for the Advancement of Science suggested that if a person is exposed to e-cigarettes and vaping products in their early life it could affect their reproduction, development and long term health.
Smoking Damages Everything About Your Health
Vaping might affect sperm levels, although testing just 30 men is not really a significant amount. But it seems that lots of things that are fairly innocuous can affect sperm too, and it's a proven thing that smoking damages people, as well as their sperm. But really, unhealthy sperm is a problem of modern living in general.
So, if you're trying to conceive switch off your phone, close your laptop, stay off the booze, have a cold bath and let an oyster do its magic.
But definitely don't smoke. It kills more than just sperm.
And Statistically Speaking…
A man will produce 525 billion sperm in his lifetime.
There’s currently around a third of men smoking globally.
Average global fertility rates are dropping.
How long does nicotine stay in your sperm? - That is unknown but sperm take 3 months to mature, so after 3 months of quitting sperm health should be vastly improved.