• Does Secondhand Smoke Increase Risk of Infertility and Early Menopause?

man exhaling cigarette smokeDoctors have known for a long time that smoking is associated with infertility and early menopause. But the impact of secondhand smoke has been unclear. A new study published in the journal Tobacco Control shows that even passive exposure to smoke seems to have detrimental effects on a woman's ability to conceive. The study also reports that secondhand smoke may lead to early menopause, before the age of 50.

Mayo Clinic reproductive and infertility expert Dr. Jani Jensen says, "Although quitting smoking can be very difficult, the motivation to become pregnant and have a healthy pregnancy may help some women attempt to quit using tobacco. Similarly, this new study may be motivating even to partners to quit tobacco use to reduce the risks of secondhand smoke on pregnancy."  

Although the researchers did not explore how secondhand smoke impacts fertility and menopause, Dr. Jensen says one theory behind the menopause issue is that early onset is the result of accelerated loss of healthy eggs.  

The researchers of the study say their findings underscore the importance of shielding women from active and passive tobacco smoke.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics:

  • 40 million American adults smoke
  • Close to 15 out of 100 (15 percent) of American women smoke
  • Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States
  • More than 16 million Americans live with a smoking-related disease

If you want to quit smoking, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for help.


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