Tobacco abuse among women reduces fertility by 60%- Dr. Sagarika Aggarwal,

There are approx. 1.4billion tobacco users all around the world and at least one out of the 10 people worldwide dies due to use of tobacco every year.

By 2020, around 100 million of premature deaths of people can be controlled by reducing the tobacco use by 20-25% which is possible by applying all the anti-smoking efforts and measures such as banning the TV or radio advertising for tobacco, launching new and effective public awareness campaigns displaying dangers and necessity to stop smoking in the public places.

Statistics says around 37.6% reduction in the number of smokers in 1955 whereas 30.9% in 2017.

Effect of Tobacco On Fertility

Smoking is injurious to health. This caution we come across everywhere in our day to day life. But still the addicts overlook it. Tobacco not only damages the lungs but also the heart, kidneys and even sperms. It can lead to infertility in men as well as women.

If its tobacco or hookah, the fact is it is injurious to health. Statistics states that around 6 million Indians die every year due to tobacco smoking.

With the changes in trend, as many women as men are addicted to some form of tobacco. Recent researches say that approximately one in four women in the metro cities is addicted to smoking. According to WHO, even though there is a decline in number of people addicted to smoking but the tobacco related ailments have raised rapidly within the last decade. Couples facing problems to conceive is one among the non-life threatening complications and is one of the leading causes of early onset of menopause among females said Dr Sagarika Aggarwal Gynaecologist & IVF Specialist Indira IVF Hospital New Delhi.

Several studies have shown that in comparison to non-smokers, active smokers have 14% more chances of suffering from infertility and 30% more chances of early menopause. In females while entering into early 30’s, fertility gradually starts declining and the process speeds up after 35, but tobacco abuse triggers it well before the time.

Women smoking tobacco reduces their chances of conceiving by atleast 60%, and is also linked to ectopic pregnancy and other tubal factor infertility. Chemicals present in a cigarette also make certain cervical changes that even put them at an elevated risk of cervical cancer. Regular smoking also creates an imbalance in the levels of anti oxidants in the ovaries that prevents fertilization and hence implantation.

Tobacco has a massive affect on male fertility also. It damages the blood vessels and affects blood flow. Some studies have also linked effects of smoking with erectile dysfunction and decreased sexual performance.

Human sperm cells carry two tiny, highly charged proteins called protamine 1 and protamine 2 which are in a perfectly balanced one-to-one relationship. However, sperms of the smokers carry very little protamine, which makes them highly vulnerable to DNA damage.The damages caused by tobacco also include chromosome damage and DNA fragmentation in sperm. Smoking damages sperm which is less likely to fertilize. The embryos developed from smoker sperms are less likely to survive due to DNA damage.

Passive smoking may also affect male fertility. Male smokers can suffer decreased sperm quality with lower mobility and it boots numbers of abnormally shaped sperms. Also, if one is a chain smoker then it might also decrease the sperm's ability to fertilize eggs.

IVF also may not be able to fully overcome smoking effects on fertility. Female smokers need more ovary-stimulating medications during IVF and still have fewer eggs at retrieval time and have 30% lower pregnancy rates compared with IVF patients who do not smoke.


If you are planning for pregnancy it is a good idea to quit smoking much before you start considering. Studies say more than 10 cigarettes a day will significantly harm your ability to conceive.

For healthy life maintain a healthy diet, doing regular exercises, meditation, yoga, etc. Research says that if people plan to quit with their partner it is much easier for them to leave. Deciding to quit together is a great way to increase the fertility and improve the chances of having a healthy baby.

If you want to quit just be honest with yourself and the second is to ask for help and support.

-Dr. Sagarika Aggarwal,
Gynaecologist & IVF Expert,
Indira IVF Hospitals, New Delh 

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