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How Smoking Affects Reproductive Health

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How Does Smoking Affect Fertility, Hormone Production, and Conception When Trying to Get Pregnant?

Smoking cigarettes can have negative health effects on fertility, making it harder to conceive.

Research shows that:

  • Smoking can reduce fertility,1  making it difficult to conceive.
  • Smoking may negatively affect hormone production.2 
  • Smoking and exposure to tobacco smoke can harm the reproductive system.2 
  • Smoking can damage the DNA in sperm.3 

If you or someone you love is trying to conceive and uses tobacco, learn more about what it’s like to quit smoking and get started on the path to a smoke-free life.

Smoking before, during and after pregnancy can harm a baby's health

How Does Smoking During Pregnancy Affect My Baby’s Fetal Development?  

Smoking during pregnancy can cause pregnancy complications, negative health effects on the unborn child, miscarriage, and death.

Smoking during pregnancy can put you at a higher risk of pregnancy complications, such as preterm labor and delivery.3 

Smoking during pregnancy can also result in negative health outcomes for the unborn baby.1,4 Every year, approximately 400,000 U.S. infants are exposed to cigarette smoke and its chemicals in the womb.2 These babies are at risk of a number of complications including:

  • Low birth weight.
  • Lungs that fail to develop properly.
  • Birth defects such as cleft lip and/or cleft palate.
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).3

The chemicals in cigarette smoke may put you at risk for an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg fails to reach the womb, but instead begins to grow outside of the womb. This serious condition almost always results in death of the unborn child, and in some cases, death of the mother as well.

Additionally, there is some evidence that smoking during pregnancy may result in miscarriage of the fetus or unborn baby.2

No tobacco product is safe to use during pregnancy. Nearly all tobacco products—including most e-cigarettes—contain nicotine, which can cross the placenta and interfere with fetal and postnatal development.5

If you’re pregnant and interested in quitting smoking, consult with your health care provider to talk about your reproductive health. You can also get free resources for quitting while pregnant, including a texting program to offer support for pregnant people trying to quit.

Can Smoking Put Me at Risk for Cervical Cancer? 

Yes, smoking cigarettes can cause cervical cancer.1 This type of cancer occurs in the cervix, the lower, narrow end of the uterus that forms a canal between the uterus and vagina.

Within just a few years of quitting smoking, risk of cervical cancer is reduced.1 If you use tobacco and want to quit, there are resources that can help you quit smoking

Can Smoking Put Me at Risk for Erectile Dysfunction?

Yes, smoking can increase your risk for erectile dysfunction,3 a condition in which you are unable to get or keep an erection firm enough for satisfactory sexual intercourse.  

Can Smoking Increase My Likelihood of Dying From Prostate Cancer? 

Yes, smoking can increase your likelihood of dying from prostate cancer.3 The prostate is a gland in the male reproductive system and produces a fluid that forms part of the semen. Prostate cancer begins in the prostate.

If you have prostate cancer and smoke, you may be more likely to die from the disease than those with prostate cancer who don’t smoke.3 

Audience: Public Health Professionals, Healthcare Providers, Educators

Topics: Cessation, Cigarettes, E-Cigarettes & Vaping, Prevention, Science & Research